Huraira drives Pakistan to ICC U19 World Cup semi-final


Debutant Mohammad Huraira scored 64 runs off 76 balls to help Pakistan beat Afghanistan by six wickets and set their semi-final fixture with arch-rivals India in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.

Huraira took charge and led Pakistan from the front in his first match in the World Cup. He played fearlessly and struck eight boundaries and a six during his stay at the crease.

Earlier, Pakistani bowling attack dominated and bowled out Afghanistan for 189 runs in the Super League Quarter-Final 4 at Benoni on Friday.

Mohammad Amir Khan was the highest wicket-taker with three wickets while Fahad Munir bagged two wickets for 29 runs. Tahir Hussain, Abbas Afridi, Aamir Ali, and Qasim Akram shared a wicket apiece.

Afghanistan were off to a good start with their openers Ibrahim Zadran and Farhan Zakhil scoring 41 runs together on the opening partnership. Zakhil scored highest 40 runs off 55 balls laced with seven boundaries.

The boys in blue kept on losing wickets after regular intervals. Rahmanullah (29) and Abid Mohammadi (28) were the other two scorers in the middle-order. Abdul Rahman scored 30 runs, in the end, to somehow race the score of Afghanistan. His inning includes two boundaries and a six.

In reply, Pakistan’s opener Haider Ali and Huraira put a solid 61 runs opening partnership on the scoreboard. Haider, the right-handed opener fell on a run-out after scoring 28 off 34 balls.

Huraira took charge of the team and played brilliantly with skipper Rohail Nazir to put 56 runs together on the scoreboard. In the end, Qasim Akram (25*) and Mohammad Haris (29*) partnered strongly to score match-winning 62 runs together after Pakistan struggled a bit for 127-4.

Noor Ahmad (2-32) was the only wicket-taker for Afghanistan.

With this win, Pakistan will now lock horns with arch-rivals India in the first semi-final of the event on February 4. The second semi-final of the event is scheduled between New Zealand and Bangladesh on February 6.