Kuala Lumpur: Ikram Faizi’s unbeaten 107 and a five-for from offspinner Mujeeb Zadran clinched the maiden Asia Cup title for Afghanistan Under-19s, with a 185-run win over Pakistan Under-19s in the final in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Mujeeb came into the final having taken six wickets against Nepal Under-19s in the semi-final and a six-for against Pakistan in the side’s first match of the tournament. His domination over the opponents continued – having dismissed Pakistan’s openers by the fourth over, Mujeeb returned in his second spell to pick up three lower-order wickets without conceding a run. His 5 for 13 took his overall wicket tally in the tournament to 20. Mujeeb was well-supported by legspinner Qais Ahmad, whose three wickets included Mohammad Taha – the leading run-getter in the tournament – and wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir. Taha and captain Hasan Khan were the only two Pakistan batsmen to score in double-figures in an innings that lasted 22.1 overs.
Earlier, having been put in to bat, Afghanistan’s top three did the bulk of the scoring. The openers, Rahman Gul (40 off 53 balls) and Ibrahim Zadran (36 off 76), began with a 61-run opening partnership before Faizi took charge of the innings, smashing 10 fours and two sixes en route to his 113-ball 107. He anchored two fifty-plus stands with Darwish Rasooli (18) and Qais (14) for the third and sixth wickets respectively, negating much of the impact of the strikes from Muhammad Musa and Shaheen Shah Afridi, who took five wickets between them. Having hit only 14 off his first 50 balls, Faizi accelerated quickly – he brought up his century with a six in the penultimate over, while smashing 18 runs in a 26-run over bowled by Munir Riaz.
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