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Afghanistan to take on Pakistan in U-19 Cup opener

Afghanistan to take on Pakistan in U-19 Cup opener

Jan 06, 2018 - 12:09

KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan and Pakistan are set resume their rivalry in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup next month.

The opener of the mega event will be played between Afghanistan and Pakistan, both placed in Group D, at Cobham Oval in New Zealand on January 13.

Ireland, who won the European Qualifier against Scotland by five runs, and Sri Lanka are also included in Group D, according to ICC schedule.

One of the better sides in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup over the years, Pakistan have won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2006 and finished runners-up on three other occasions. 

Pakistan could face a stiff challenge from Afghanistan after having lost to them in the final of the U-19 Asia Cup. Munir Riaz, who took eight wickets in that tournament, and Shaheen Afridi are the team’s main bowlers.

But the player to watch in this group could be 16-year-old off-spinner Mujeeb Zadran, who not only grabbed five for 13 against Pakistan in that final, but also made a sensational entry into senior international cricket grabbing four for 24 against Ireland in Sharjah for a player of the match debut.

Before the Asia Cup, Afghanistan had remained unbeaten in the Asia Qualifiers to earn an entry into the U19 CWC. Afghanistan had also made an impression in the 2016 World Cup where they won the plate final.

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan was one of the key members of that squad and is now one of the leading spinners of the world in ODIs and T20Is.