Sri Lanka end Pakistan's hopes in Under-19 Asia Cup semi-final

Islanders win low-scoring thriller by 22 runs to set up title match against India

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Sri Lanka ended Pakistan's hopes at the Under-19 Asia Cup after clinching a low-scoring semi-final at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Thursday.

The islanders were bundled out for 147 but they hit back to dismiss Pakistan for 125 for a 22-run win that set up a final clash with India on Friday.

Treveen Mathew was their hero. The off-spinner opened the attack and grabbed three early wickets before returning to provide a vital breakthrough towards the end to finish with excellent figures of 4-14 from his 10 overs.

Mathew made his first appearance in the competition in the final league phase match against Bangladesh, which was ultimately called off after two officials tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.

Playing his second game, Mathew made an immediate impact with a triple strike to leave Pakistan reeling at 10-3 in the sixth over.

Raveen de Silva and captain Dunith Wellalage grabbed a wicket each and Shevon Daniel removed their top scorer Muhammad Shehzad (30) as Pakistan slumped to 70-6 in 30.1 overs.

Mathew struck in his final over to have Rizwan Mehmood caught off his own bowling before left arm spinner Wellalage (3-31) and Matheesha Pathirana picked up the remaining three wickets to complete a remarkable fight-back.

Sri Lanka’s player-of-the match Mathew was delighted with his bowling effort.

“I’m delighted that I could produce such a tight spell,” he said. “It was possible only because my teammates supported me all the way, encouraging to bowl better.

“I bowled a tight length and that resulted in getting those wickets.”

Sri Lankan captain Wellalage attributed his team's success to good preparation. “We have reached the final purely due to our good preparation and hard work,” he said.

“Everyone has contributed to this success. It was a good show by all our bowlers. We applied the pressure by bowling the right length and won the match.”

Meanwhile, India reached their eighth U-19 Asia Cup final in nine editions of the competition after a resounding victory over Bangladesh by 103 runs at the Sharjah Stadium.

Riding on a well-struck 90 not out from Shaikh Rasheed, India posted 243-8 after being put into bat first. Bangladesh were dismissed for 140 in 38.2 overs.

India have won the continental age group title six times and shared the trophy with Pakistan after the scores were tied on 282 at the Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur in 2012.

Afghanistan are the only other nation to win the title when they defeated Pakistan by 185 runs, also at the Kinrara Oval in 2017.

Rasheed’s 108-ball knock included three fours and a six, anchoring the innings as India posted a challenging score.

He came to the crease after the fall of prolific scorer Harnoor Singh (15) in the eighth over and shared useful partnerships with captain Yash Dhull and Raj Bawa.

Rasheed and Dhull (26) put on 41 for the fourth wicket and 46 for the fifth with Bawa (23) before a breezy 18-ball 28 not out from Vicky Ostwal rounded off their innings.

Bangladesh lost their first wicket at 31 and then wickets started to fall at regular intervals. Four Indian bowlers picked up two wickets each in a commanding performance.

Updated: December 30, 2021, 3:14 PM