Dubai: Pakistan produced a clinical performance to defeat Sri Lanka by 121 runs after captain Sami Aslam and Imam-ul-Haq produced their third opening wicket century partnership in four matches. (U-19 World Cup: England beat India by 3 wickets, enter semis)
Sami scored 95 and Imam contributed 82 as the two left-handers put on 177 runs for the first wicket in 37 overs. It was Sami's third half-century in four matches, which has taken his tournament tally of runs to 224, while Imam got his third half-century besides a century to strengthen his position at the top of leading run-getters with 342 runs.
Kamran Ghulam then belted four fours and two sixes in a 44-ball 52 as Pakistan scored 279 for nine in 50 overs.
In turn, Zia-ul-Haq destroyed the stumps behind an in-form Hashan Dumindu on the very first ball as Sri Lanka was soon reduced to 44 for three. However, Priyamal Perera (68) and Sadeera Samarawichrama (51) added 59 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter departed that opened all floodgates as Sri Lanka crashed out for 158 in 42.3 overs.
Reflecting on his side's victory, Sami said: "We've been playing here in the UAE for quite some time. We played here for about two months before coming to the U19 Cricket World Cup, so I think we are very comfortable with the conditions, and we are gaining confidence at the right time.
"We've won this match by a great margin, which will be good going into the semi-finals. We have played against England a lot, so we know each other quite well. It's going to be an exciting match."
Monday's semi-finals between England and Pakistan will be played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium and will be covered live by Star Sports. On a head-to-head in ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, England leads Pakistan 3-1.