LAHORE - Pakistan U19 began their ACC U19 Asia Cup 2023 campaign on a high note after defeating Nepal U19 by seven wickets at ICC Academy Ground No 2 in Dubai.
Right-arm quick Mohammad Zeeshan registered a six-wicket haul to help dismiss Nepal U19 for 152 in 47.2 overs. In turn, Saad Baig-led Pakistan U19 chased 153 in 26.2 overs with seven wickets to spare.
Pakistan U19’s decision to bowl first paid dividends as Zeeshan ran through the Nepal batting line-up. He picked up six wickets for 19, registering the second-best figures at this level for a Pakistan bowler, bested only by Shaheen Shah Afridi who registered 6-15 against Ireland in 2018.
He was supported by his fellow quicks as left-armer Amir Hassan grabbed two wickets and right-armer Ubaid Shah got one. Left-arm spinner Ali Asfand got a wicket too. Nepal U19 opening batter Arjun Kumal contributed 21 from 37, including three fours, and was the only top-order batter to register a score in double digits. Fifth batter in, Uttam Magar hitting 51 off 76 balls including three boundaries and two maximums.
Left-hander Dinesh Kandel, who came to crease after the fifth wicket fell, stitched a 70-run stand with Magar, to help stable the innings. The partnership was cut short by Zeeshan, who removed Kandel for 31 off 59, including two fours and a six.
Chasing 153, Pakistan U19 faltered a little at the start. Right-arm pacer Gulshan Jha struck twice as opening batter Shamyl Hussain was caught for a duck and his fellow opener, Shahzaib Khan, joined him back in the pavilion shortly after, scoring only 15 off 29.
Pakistan U19 captain Saad Baig (50, 56b, 5x4s) and Azan Awais (56*, 62b, 8x4s) batted together to yield a 108-run stand that brought the chase back on track. In the 24th over, Saad was caught off Aakash Tripathi’s bowling. Zeeshan then hit a fiery 20 off just eight balls. For his all-round performance, Zeeshan was named man of the match. Pakistan U19 are set to play against India U19 on 10 December.