UAE show fighting spirit in Under-19 Asia Cup against Pakistan

India overcome gritty Afghanistan to book their place in semi-finals on Monday

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The UAE bowed out of the Under-19 Asia Cup after losing the final game of the league phase to Pakistan at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Monday.

Drawn in a strong Group A alongside India and Afghanistan, the hosts put in their best effort against Pakistan before losing by 21 runs.

They restricted their more illustrious rivals to 219-8, before managing 198-9 in a valiant chase. It was a markedly improved performance by the UAE who lost to India by 154 runs in the opener and then were beaten by Afghanistan by 140 runs.

Spinners Aayan Afzal Khan and Nilansh Keswani were the pick of the UAE players in the tournament.

They played key roles in the bowling department in all three games and rounded off with good knocks with the bat as they took their team close to the target on Monday.

Aayan took 3-44 from 10 overs and hit a breezy 32-ball 38 that included two sixes and two fours. Keswani returned with 2-32 from 10 overs and hit a useful 25 off 54.

Kai Smith (38) and captain Alishan Sharafu (35) also chipped in with useful contributions in the chase but the UAE fell short.

Meanwhile, India were made to work hard before clinch victory over Afghanistan by four wickets and 10 balls to spare to book their place as the second team in the semi-finals.

Chasing 260, openers Harnoor Singh and Angkrish Raghuvanshi set the platform for India with a 104-run stand, before Raj Bawa and Kaushal Tambe completed the job with an unfinished 65-run stand.

Harnoor, who struck a century against the UAE, top scored with 65. His 74-ball knock included eight hits to the fence, while Raghuvanshi made 35.

However, they both fell to Noor Ahmad, with the left arm spinner finishing with four wickets.

India were 197-6 in 37.4 overs when Tambe joined Bawa at the crease. The two kept their cool to take their team over the line.

Tambe finished it for India in style by smashing Bilal Sami’s first two deliveries of the penultimate to the boundary.

Earlier, Afghan captain Suliman Safi struck 73 and Ijaz Ahmadzai hit a quick-fire 68-ball 86 not out that included seven sixes and a four to help post 259-4.

Safi’s 86-ball knock had seven boundaries and one maximum. He featured in a 88-run partnership with Ahmadzai.

On Tuesday, Sri Lanka meet Bangladesh for the top spot in Group B and Nepal face Kuwait in a dead-rubber at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

Updated: December 27, 2021, 3:51 PM