Millennium Post

U19 World Cup: Afghans stun Kiwis to enter semis

Christchurch (New Zealand): Afghanistan produced a superb all-round effort to stun New Zealand by 202 runs in a Super League quarter-final at the ICC U19 World Cup here on Thursday.
Opting to bat first, Afghanistan rode on half-centuries from Rahmanullah, Ibrahim Zadran, Baheer Shah and Azmatullah to post a challenging total of 309/6 in their 50 overs.
Mujeeb Zadran and Qais Ahmad then claimed four wickets each as the Afghans bundled out New Zealand for a meagre 107 runs in 28.1 overs.
Zadran returned figures of 4/14 while Ahmad claimed 4/33.
Afghanistan will meet former champions Australia in the semi-finals.
The Afghan innings was off to an excellent start as Rahmanullah and Zadran put on an opening partnership of 117 runs in 20.4 overs. This was the biggest opening stand for Afghanistan at the U-19 level.
Pacer Sandeep Patel struck the first blow for New Zealand when he bowled Rahmanullah in the 21st over.
Rahmanullah scored 69 runs off 67 balls with seven boundaries and three sixes.
When left-arm spinner Felix Murray pulled off a stunning caught and bowled effort in the 24th over to send back Ikram Ali Khil, it seemed like the Kiwis had brought the situation under control.
But Shah joined Zadran in the middle and the duo proceeded to add 47 runs between them.
Zadran posted a patient innings of 68 runs off 98 balls while Shah remained unbeaten on 67 off 72 deliveries.
Patel proved to be the partnership breaker once again when he sent Zadran back to the pavilion.
The fall of another couple of wickets seemed to have stalled the Afghans' momentum. But a quickfire 66 off just 23 balls by Azmatullah Omarzai and his 79-run stand with Shah helped the Afghans to a big total.
Omarzai's innings was studded with three boundaries and seven sixes.
In reply, the Kiwis never really managed to get their run chase going as they lost wickets at regular intervals.
The Afghans struck early blows to reduce the hosts to 20/4 in the seventh over.
The only bright spot of the Kiwi innings was a 66-run stand between Dale Phillips and Katene Clarke, who made the Afghans wait for almost 19 overs for their fifth wicket.
Clarke was the highest scorer for New Zealand with 38 runs off 56 balls while Phillips scored 31 runs off 32 deliveries.
But once Phillips was trapped leg before by Ahmed in the 20th over, it was virtually all over for the Kiwis.
Brief scores:
Afghanistan: 309/6 in 50 overs (Rahmanullah 69, Ibrahim Zadran 68, Baheer Shah 67 not out, Azmatullah Omarzai 66; Sandeep Patel 2/13) vs New Zealand: 107 in 28.1 overs (Katene Clarke 38, Dale Phillips 31; Mujeeb Zadran 4/14, Qais Ahmad 4/33).
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