KARACHI: Leg-spinner Shadab Khan grabbed four top wickets as Pakistan whipped Afghanistan by six wickets in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2016 while qualifier Nepal stunned New Zealand by 32 runs on Thursday.
Promising Shadab ended with excellent figures of four for nine runs in five overs and seamer Hasan Mohsin took three wickets for 24 runs as Afghanistan was bundled out for 126 after being sent in to bat first in Sylhet.
Tariq Stanikzai scored a fine 53, but eight batsmen failed to reach double-figures against the sustained pressure applied by the Pakistanis.
Pakistan surpassed the modest target in the 32nd over with Zeeshan Malik making 29, Hasan Mohsin an unbeaten 28 and Mohammad Umar 25.
Shadab, playing his first U19 World Cup, admitted he was nervous at the start but settled down to return with excellent figures.
“I tried to bowl as straight as possible without trying too many things,” he said. “I am happy with my performance but more importantly we achieved a convincing win. It has given us tremendous confidence and lifted the entire side.”
Nepal, which won the qualifying event in Malaysia last year to return to the World Cup after missing the previous tournament in 2014, bowled out the Kiwis for 206 after it was set a 239-run target.
While captain Raju Rijal top-scored for Nepal with 48, seamer Dipender Airee’s three wickets and off-spinner Prem Tamang’s two helped clinch the dramatic win.
Dale Phillips scored 41 to make a late victory bid for New Zealand before he was last out to spark joyous celebrations in the Nepalese camp.
3-time champion India overcame a shaky start against Ireland to open its campaign with a 79-run victory in Mirpur in another Group D match.
India was reduced to 55 for four after being sent in to bat, before Sarfaraz Khan and Washington Sundar pulled their side out of trouble with a 110-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Sarfaraz smashed 74 off 70 balls which included seven boundaries, while left-handed Sundar hit a polished 62.
Irish seamers Rory Anders and Joshua Little picked up three wickets each, but tail-ender Zeeshan Ansari boosted India’s total with a run-a-ball 36 at the end.
Ireland was bowled out for 189 in reply as Rahul Batham took three for 15 and Avesh Khan finished with two for 24.
Sri Lanka showed why it is one of the tournament favourites when it rattled up 315 for six after electing to bat against Canada.
Skipper Charith Asalanka led the way with 76 off 69 balls, the in-form Shammu Ashan hit 74 off 61 balls, Kaveen Bandara made 61 and wicketkeeper Vishad de Silva scored 51.
Canada was shot out for 119 in reply with Arslan Khan playing a lone hand with an unbeaten 42. Lahiru Kumara, Thilan Nimesh and Damitha Silva claimed two wickets each.