Teams which lost their respective semi final matches in the ongoing ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup, neighbors Afghanistan and Pakistan will meet in a clash to finalize the 3rd place on Thursday. Afghanistan lost their semifinal clash to Australia and Pakistan lost it to India. But, both teams will bring their A-game to finish as third best team in the tournament. 3rd Place Playoff between Afghanistan vs Pakistan schedule to start at 10:30 AM Local | 3 AM IST on Thursday, 1st February 2018.
After shocked the cricket world by winning ACC U19 Asia Cup in November 2017, Afghanistan U19 team started the ICC U19 World Cup with a huge win over Pakistan in the tournament opener. Afghan side registered their second consecutive win when they defeat Sri Lanka by DLS method. But, they came 4 runs short against Ireland in the last league match and finished at second in the Group table. In the quarter final Afghan U19 became so strong and defeated the host nation New Zealand by a huge margin of 202 runs but lost to Australia by 6 wickets in the semi-final. As Afghanistan had a big upper hand against Pakistan in both Asia Cup Final and also in the group stage of this tournament, Naveen-ul-Haq led-side will go into this game with full of confidence. The confident Afghan side is expected to play with an unchanged XI on Thursday.
Rahmnaullah and Ibrahim Zadran are the regular openers and both of them contributed with runs in various matches. Both openers has scored 69 and 68 runs respectively against New Zealand in the quarter final. Wicket keeper batsman Ikram Ali Khil contributed lot of runs at no. 3 in the batting orders. His scores were 46, 55, 4 and 80 runs respectively. He is a key player and he has role to play once again for Afghan. Baheer Shah, Darwish Rasooli and Nisar Wahdat all are bats in middle-order and strengthening batting lineup. Darwish Rasooli who scored back-to-back half-centuries in the first two matches, managed to score only 16 runs in last 3 innings. But, he could be back in form at right time in this crucial clash. Baheer Shah has a mixed tournament with a bat. He remained unbeaten against New Zealand and scored 67 runs. Nisar Wahdat yet to score a half-century or more in the tournament, but he adds some useful runs to the team total in second half of the innings.
All-rounder Azmatullah performed well with both bat and bowl. He smashed 23 balls 66 runs against Kiwis in the quarter final. He also contributed with quick runs in other matches. With a ball, he shined with 5 wickets in first 2 innings and didn’t get much of bowling opportunities in the last two matches. Skipper Naveen-ul-Haq has claimed a tally of 8 wickets in 5 innings, including four wickets haul against Sri Lanka. The leg spinner Qais Ahmed has bowled so well in all 5 matches and claimed 14 wickets in total. He will be one of the bigger threat for Pakistan players in this game. The new sensation of Afghan cricket Mujeeb Zadran remanined wicket less in the first two games, but claimed 4 for 14 against New Zealand last week. The off-spinner has a role to play in this game against Pakistan. The left-arm spinner Zakir Khan remained wicket-less in last three outings, but he will keep his place in the XI as a third spinner.
The loss to India in the Semi Final, forced Pakistan to play this game for 3rd and 4th place. After lost to Afghanistan in the opening game, Pakistan came back strongly and registered three wins in a row including the quarter final victory against South Africa. The bowling unit of Pakistan worked so hard all through this tournament, but the batting put them down at crucial times. Pakistani bowlers shown a decent performances against India, especially the new-ball bowlers Arshad Khan and Muhammad Musa shared 7 wickets among them. But the poor batting display caused Pakistan a big opportunity and lost that game by 202 runs. As recent history not in favor of them against Afghanistan, Pakistan in a position to re-write the fate by defeating Afghan and secure 3rd place in the tournament. For the first time Pakistan made a change to their side in the last game. They brought in the opening batsman Imran Shah on the expenses of spinner Suleman Shafqat.
Every batsman had a tough time against India. But early in the tournament, wicket keeper batsman Rohail Nazir and Ali Zaryab contributed much with a bat for Pakistan. Mohammad Zaid Alam’s poor form may shut his door and will make a way for Muhammad Mohsin Khan. Imran Shah who played his first match in the tournament on Tuesday, quite possibly get a second chance despite he scored only 2 runs in that game. After scored two half-centuries in 3 innings, middle-order batsman Ali Zaryab departed for just one run against India. Pakistan batting relying much on Zaryab’s performance, so team need him to play a long innings in this match. Mohammad Taha has played as a fifth main bowler in the match against India and he did a good job by bowling well in the middle-overs. With a bat, he did not score a big runs in the competition, but he can add some crucial runs to the total in lower middle-order. The poor run of Ammad Alam continued and he managed to depart for 3rd single digit score in four innings. There would be no surprise, if either Munir Riaz or Suleman Shafqat in the XI for Ammad Alam.
Skipper Hasan Khan bats at no. 7 and bowls left-arm spin. He claimed 3 wickets against Ireland, other than that he didn’t do much of damage with a ball. He scores some useful runs in lower order. Muhammad Musa who remained wicket-less in first three matches, has claimed a total of 7 wickets in last two knockout matches. After claimed 3 for 29 against South Africa, Musa came with a spell of 4 for 67 against India in the Semi-Final. Left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi was the major strike bowler of Pakistan in the tournament, but his hardwork didn’t pay off against India and he finished with 1 for 62 in 10 overs. He has a bright chance to be back with strong response in this encounter. Arshad Khan who claimed 1 wicket each in 3 innings continuously, contributed with 3 for 50 against India on Tuesday. His good bowling performances in the last game, will allow him to be in the XI for this game.
KEY PLAYERS :
- Ikram Ali Khil
- Baheer Shah
- Darwish Rasooli
- Qais Ahmed
- Mujeeb Zadran
- Rohail Nazir
- Ali Zaryab
- Imran Shah
- Mohammad Taha
- Hasan Khan
- Shaheen Afridi
- Muhammad Musa
- Arshad Iqbal
POSSIBLE LINEUPS :
1. Rahmanullah, 2. Ibrahim Zadran, 3. Ikram Ali Khil, 4. Baheer Shah, 5. Darwish Rasooli, 6. Nisar Wahdat, 7. Azmatullah, 8. Naveen-ul-Haq, 9. Qais Ahmed, 10. Mujeeb Zadran, 11. Zakir Khan.
1. Imran Shah, 2. Muhammad Zaid Alam / Muhammad Mohsin Khan, 3. Rohail Nazir, 4. Ali Zaryab, 5. Mohammad Taha, 6. Ammad Alam / Suleman Shafqat, 7. Saad Khan, 8. Hasan Khan, 9. Shaheen Afridi, 10. Arshad Iqbal, 11. Muhammad Musa.