Afghanistan U19 will face Pakistan U19 tomorrow in the fourth quarter-final match of ICC U19 World Cup in South Africa. The two sides qualified to the Super-eight stage of the tournament after the former topped Group-D while the latter came runner-up in Group C.
The odds will be in favor of Afghanistan U19 who will start the match as favorites courtesy of their great performance in the tournament so far beating South Africa U19 and UAE U19, as well as their prolific record against their counterparts since this is not the first time that both sides face-off at the U19 level.
Afghanistan U19 has been able to subdue Pakistan U19 four times in the six matches played between both sides while Pakistan, who have always been tipped as a strong U19 team, have won only two.
It is a very impressive record considering that Pakistan has won the coveted 19 World Cup trophy twice since the tournament’s inception in 1988 while Afghanistan is a relatively newer team getting its first taste of the tournament as late as 2010.
The most memorable encounter between both sides came perhaps in the Final of U19 Asia Cup 2017 when Afghanistan triumphed by a huge margin of 185 runs thanks to a terrific century by Ikram Alikhil and an amazing five-wicket haul by spin-sensation Mujeeb ur Rahman who is currently third in the ICC’s ODI bowling rankings as he carried on his terrific performance in the U19 level to become of the best spinners in World Cricket alongside Rashid Khan, another former Afghanistan U19 player.
However, it will not be a piece of cake for either of the teams as both of them possess high- quality bowling line-ups. Pakistan has always been known to produce fast bowling marvels and has not disappointed this time as well with the likes of Abbas Afridi and Mohammad Wasim, who have been very impressive in Pakistan's campaign so far with all-rounder Mohammad Haris, who scored 81 against Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, will rely on their strong spin-attack who ran through batting line-ups of South Africa and UAE. Leggie Shafiqullah Ghafari is currently the leading wicket-taker of the tournament with 11 wickets thanks to his consecutive five-wicket hauls.
Apart from the battle of Spin vs Pace, Afghanistan will feel confident with their batting as well. Ibrahim Zadran has met the expectations well so far with consecutive half-centuries while Imran Mir and Rahmanullah have impressed as well.
Therefore, As both teams head to the match, we can look forward to a competitive and thrilling contest in Benoni this Friday.