Dubai/Abu Dhabi: India survived a scare from minnows Scotland as Sarfaraz Khan eventually bailed out the defending champions to win the Group A match by five wickets and qualify for the quarterfinals; while Afghanistan caused a major upset when they defeated Australia by 36 runs in the ICC Under-19 World Cup on Monday.
Electing to bat first, Scotland could not put up against the Indian spinners and were bowled out for 88 runs in only 29.4 overs. Man of the match Kuldeep Yadav (4/28) clinched a hat-trick to set an easy target for the Indian batsman at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
However, the Indian chase suffered a huge jolt at the start when they tottered at 22/5. But Sarfaraz's unbeaten 45 and Deepak Hooda (25 not out) saw India through to the end and the Asian team won the match in 22.3 overs.
Scotland's decision to bat first did not turn out the way they wanted it with only opener Andrew Umeed (44) showing any kind of resistance. The Scottish batsman had nothing much to talk about as Gavin Main (16) was the only other batsman to reach double figures apart from Umeed.
ALSO SEE - Under-19 World Cup: India vs Scotland
Pacers Chama Milind (1/16) and Avesh Khan (1/14) kept their line and length to pick up a wicket apiece in five overs each. But the main job was done by the spinners Yadav and offie Aamir Gani.
Left arm chinaman bowler Yadav (4/28) became the first Indian bowler, and second overall, to take a hat-trick in the U-19 World Cup when he scalped Nick Farrar (0), Kyle Stirling (0) and Alex Baum (5). Later on, he also went on to pick Mark Watt (0). Varanasi boy Gani, on the other hand, displayed his skills to notch 4/28 in 9.4 overs, finishing off the Scottish innings.
Chasing a measly target of 89, the Indian top five perished for single digits, including skipper Vijay Zol (4), as India was tottering at 22/5. India almost made a mess of things when it slipped to 22/5 with left-arm spinner Chayank Gosain (3/31) and Main (2/20) causing the damage.
But Khan and Hooda struck the all important 70-run sixth-wicket partnership to take the defending champions home. Hooda scored two fours and gave good support to Khan, who hit five boundaries and a six in his 51-ball innings.
India now sit atop Group A with four points from two wins in two matches and play their last league match against Papua New Guinea Feb 19 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Afghanistan caused a major upset when they defeated three-time champions and 2012’s runners-up Australia by 36 runs in a Group B match at Abu Dhabi Oval 2.
Half-centuries by Mohammad Mujtaba, Ihsanullah and Hashmatullah Shaidi helped Afghanistan post a respectable 253 in 49.2 overs before fast bowler Abdullah Adil and left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf shared seven wickets between them to bowl Australia out for 217.
Mujtaba (75, 102b, 5x4, 2x6) and Ihsanullah (63, 78b, 8x4) added 126 runs for the second wicket and later Hashmatullah (57, 64b, 7x4) provided a late impetus to Afghanistan’s innings after they had elected to bat first.
In turn, Australia managed just one partnership of note when for the fourth wicket, Jake Doran (45) and Damien Mortimer (43) put on 70 runs as they were bowled out for 217 in 48 overs with James Bazley top scoring with 54 not out. Abdullah returned figures of 9-0-45-4 while Sharafuddin had figures of 9-1-55-3.
In Group B, the situation has becomes extremely exciting following Australia’s defeat. On Wednesday, Bangladesh will play Australia and Afghanistan will take on Namibia. If Afghanistan and Australia win their matches, then there will be a three-way tie between Afghanistan, Australia and Bangladesh with net run-rate to decide which two sides advance from this stage. At present, Bangladesh has a net run-rate of +0.924, Australia +0.650 and Afghanistan -0.031.
On Sunday, South Africa from Group C and Sri Lanka from Group D had sealed their places in the quarter-finals after recording back-to-back victories.
While the top two sides from each Group will progress to the Super League, the bottom two sides will feature in the Plate Championship.
PAKISTAN AND BANGLADESH CRUISE
Pakistan bounced back from the disappointment of losing their opening match to India in style as they thrashed minnows Papua New Guinea by 145 runs at Dubai to get their campaign back on track. Half-centuries from opening batsmen Imam-ul-Haq and skipper Sami Aslam set the foundation for Pakistan’s imposing total of 283 for 8. Hasan Raza (44) was the only other Pakistan batsman to make a notable contribution; while Kabua Morea (3-45) was the most successful of PNG’s bowlers.
The target was always going to be beyond PNG and the task became all the more difficult when they lost two wickets in the first over before being reduced to 82 for 5 inside 16 overs with fast-medium bowler Zia-ul-Haq taking two wickets.
Kiplin Doriga (51) was the only PNG batsman to offer any resistance and the innings was over in a hurry after his dismissal. Zafar Gohar was the most successful bowler for Pakistan with figures of 8.5-0-35-4.
In another match, Bangladesh’s Mossadek Hossain produced a quality all-round performance as the Asian side carved out a comfortable 52-run victory over Namibia.
Mossadek first scored a 70 not out from 76 balls with four fours to lift Bangladesh to 233 for five and then returned figures of 10-0-29-3 as Namibia was skittled out for 181 in 49 overs.
Other star performers for Bangladesh were opener Shadman Islam (65) and left-arm fast bowler Musrafizur Rahman who took three for 24.