Pakistan 190 for 7 (Zaryab 74*, Niemand 2-31) beat South Africa 189 for 9 (Makwetu 60, Musa 3-29, Afridi 2-30) by three wickets
Ali Zaryab‘s second straight half-century steered Pakistan into the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup, with a slightly tense three-wicket win against South Africa in Christchurch. Chasing 190, Pakistan were wobbling at 111 for 5 before Zaryab scored an unbeaten and patient 74 off 111 balls to see his side through.
Pakistan started slow in the chase, losing their top order for 63 runs in 15.1 overs. Zaryab, batting at No. 4, tried to stitch partnerships but could not put together more than 32 runs with captain Hasan Khan as offspinner Jason Niemand struck twice and Pakistan were five down after 26 overs. Zaryab was on 31 then and Pakistan needed 79 more, but at a required rate of just over three runs per over.
After Zaryab and Saad Khan played out two maidens, they kept the score ticking with singles and doubles. Zaryab soon brought up his half-century and Saad struck three fours in their sixth-wicket stand of 65 but holed out to deep midwicket for 26. South Africa gave them another scare by dismissing Pakistan’s seventh wicket for a first-ball duck but Zaryab’s knock took them home.
Earlier, Pakistan made good use of their decision to bowl as left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi removed the openers in the first 10 overs and right-arm quick Muhammad Musa struck in consecutive overs to leave South Africa reeling on 43 for 4 in 15 overs. Wicketkeeper-batsman Wandile Makwetu revived the innings with a counter-attacking half-century with some support from the lower order. He took them past 100 with Jean du Plessis (21) but was accounted for by Musa with a short ball which Makwetu pulled to deep square leg for 60. Niemand scored a crucial 36 runs at No. 7 to take them close to 200 but a couple of run-outs restricted them to 189 for 9.
Musa finished with 3 for 29 after bowling 44 dot balls in his 10 overs and Afridi ended with 2 for 30 to lead the wicket-takers’ chart in the tournament with a tally of 11 wickets from four matches.