The inaugural match of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup was played between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Cobham Oval in Whangarie on Saturday. The Afghanistan captain made his intentions clear at the toss; they were here to clinch the main trophy and not just one match. Their campaign kick-started perfectly as they were comprehensively able to beat the 2-time world champions Pakistan by 5 wickets and 15 balls to spare.
Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. The Pakistan batsmen were not just up against a good bowling attack but also a highly electric fielding unit. Pakistan were reeling at 23/2. Rohail Nazir and Ali Zaryab Asif steadied the innings, putting on 88 for the third wicket. The control was lost once Zaryab (30 off 80) threw his wicket away, and Rohail (81 off 114) followed him back to the pavilion soon after. Pakistan dragged their score to 188 before being all out. The leg-spinner Qias Ahmed and fast bowler Azmatullah Omarzai ended up with 3 wickets each.
Afganistan’s batsmen started off nervously. They were rescued by Ikram Ali Khil and Darwish Rasooli who stitched a partnership of 75 for the fourth wicket. Pakistan bowlers failed to sustain any pressure and take quick wickets.
In the end, an unbeaten 76 by Darwish Rasooli was more than enough to provide Afghanistan with their first win of the tournament and their 3rd consecutive win against Pakistan.
Next, Pakistan will face Ireland on Tuesday and Afghanistan will battle it out with Sri Lanka on Wednesday.