India scraped past Pakistan by one wicket in their quarterfinal of the Under-19 World Cup. The narrow, one-wicket victory in a low-scoring match at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, took India into the semifinal, but it was almost not to be.
Opting to bat, Pakistan managed a disappointing total of 136 in 45 overs, restricted by three-wicket hauls from both Sandeep Sharma and Ravikant Singh. India's chase was nervy, but despite the loss of nine wickets, they got to the target in 48 overs.
Pakistan had five players departing for ducks, three others with single-digit scores. Babar Azam, with his half-century, Umar Waheed (27) and Ehsan Adil (35) were largely responsible for their total, with extras contributing 13. There was a wicket in the very first delivery of the day, Sandeep sending back Sami Aslam. Three balls later, Imam-ul-Haq followed suit.
A third-wicket partnership of 55, between Azam and Waheed, steadied Pakistan, but Ravikant's dismissal of Waheed again set the wickets falling. Azam took the score to 98, but Baba Aparajith sent him back. Ehsan Adil pushed the total to 136 before his dismissal, Sandeep taking his third wicket, ended the Pakistan innings.
India's response got off to a shaky start. Unmukt Chand (4), Prashant Chopra (0) and Hanuma Vihari (0), were dismissed early, Zia-ul-Haq taking the latter two wickets, to leave India reeling at eight for three. A fourth-wicket stand of 66, between Vijay Zol and Aparajith, took India to 74, but the partnership ended when Zol was run out.
Azizullah then sent back Akshdeep Nath (7), but Smit Patel came on to steady one end, allowing Aparajith to do the scoring. However,when Aparajith walked back, becoming Zia-ul-Haq's third victim, India still needed 17 runs to win at 120 for six.
India were in desperate need of a boundary to ease the pressure and the dismissal of Patel (14) didn't help their cause. After Aparajith's dismissal, India's scoring slowed. They took 12 overs to reach their target, even as Pakistan's bowlers chipped away. It was left to Harmeet Singh (13*) and Sandeep (2*) to take India past the finish line, booking a place in the semifinals, where they will face New Zealand.
Brief Scores: Pakistan U-19: 136 in 45.1 overs (Babar Azam 50, Ehsan Adil 35; Sandeep Sharma 3-24, Ravikant Singh 3-43) lost to India U-19: 137/9 in 48 overs (Baba Aparajith 51, Vijay Zol 36; Zia-ul-Haq 3-23, Azizullah 3-30) by one wicket.