The biggest stage of junior One Day Cricket is here and it’s bigger, better and more glamorous than ever. Pakistan Under-19 (U19) cricket has a habit of making the headlines for all the good reasons and it is evident from their performance in the previous editions of the World Cup.
Pakistan has played 5 finals, the joint-most along with India, having won 2 successive titles in 2004 (vs West Indies) and 2006 (vs India).
Date and Time: Live action will begin at 2:30 am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) on January 24, 2018.
Venue: The match is scheduled to be played at Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
Television: The match will be telecasted live at Ten Sports.
Pakistan has a settled looking side with the top order in good form. Both the openers Zaid Alam and Rohail Nazeer have got some runs under the belt in this tournament, while the two-down batsman Ali Zaryab Asif has won a Man of the Match for his match-winning half-century against Sri Lanka.
Bowling is another plus for Pakistan with the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Khan and Suleman Shafqat in good wicket-taking form. All-rounders like Muhammad Musa, Muhammad Taha and captain Hasan Khan have chipped in both with bat and ball.
Pakistan hasn’t experimented with their combination yet, which may well remain the same for the next fixture.
The South African top order is also in brilliant run-scoring form with their captain R van Tonder scoring a belligerent 143, W Makwetu winning a Man of the Match award for his 99 against West Indies and H Rolfes smashing 108 in a losing cause against the Kiwis. Opener J Pillay and middle-order batsman J du Plessis have also accumulated half-centuries in the tournament.
Pakistan: Muhammad Zaid Alam, Rohail Nazir (wk), Ammad Alam, Ali Zaryab Asif, Mohammad Taha, Saad Khan, Hasan Khan (c), Muhammad Musa, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Suleman Shafqat, Arshad Iqbal
South Africa: J Pillay, MP Breetzke, R van Tonder (c), H Rolfes, W Makwetu (wk), J du Plessis, A Mokgakane/G Coetzee, J de Klerk, K Molefe, T Ntini, K Molefe
Although Pakistan has qualified for the Quarter Final, this journey has been a bumpy ride for the players, losing to Afghanistan in the opening game, then thrashing Ireland with ease and finally overcoming Sri Lanka after a slight hiccup.
South Africa have had a similar campaign, winning two (against Kenya and West Indies) and losing to the hosts New Zealand.
The game promises to be a cracker as both teams will look to book their semi-final spot.