Arch-rivals Pakistan, India set to lock horns in U19 Asia Cup today

By Our Correspondent
December 10, 2023

LAHORE: Arch-rivals Pakistan and India are set to lock horns in the Group A match of the Under-19 Asia Cup 2023 on December 10 (today) at the ICC Cricket Academy Ground in Dubai.

Pakistan commenced their campaign with a resounding seven-wicket victory over Nepal, while India outclassed Afghanistan as a win for any of the team will ensure a spot in the semi-finals.

On the other hand, Pakistan U19’s head coach Mohammad Yousuf expressed satisfaction with the team’s overall performance. He praised the bowlers for their responsible display and lauded the solid fifties from captain Saad Baig and Azan Awais. The decision to promote Zeeshan up the order as a pinch hitter paid off.

This representational image shows a hard ball on a field. — Unsplash/File

Yousuf emphasised the extraordinary talent of Zeeshan, highlighting his ability to bowl with precision and contribute as a pinch hitter, a strategy that benefits the team’s overall performance.

Meanwhile, the last encounter between both the teams resulted in a thrilling two-wicket victory for the green shirts in 2021, Mohammad Shahzad’s crucial 81 runs proved clinical in chasing the 238-run target.

In the first contest against Nepal, Pakistan’s decision to bowl first paid off as 18-year-old pacer Zeeshan claimed six wickets for just 19 runs. His remarkable figures rank as the second-best in U19 Asia Cup history for a Pakistani bowler, second only to Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 6-15 against Ireland in 2018.

While chasing 153, Pakistan were 23-2 at one stage, but a brilliant partnership between skipper Saad Baig and Azan Awais of 108 runs steered the innings. Zeeshan did well with the bat as well scoring a quick-fire 20 in just eight balls to help Pakistan achieve the target in a mere 26.2 overs.