Afghanistan dominates Nepal with a 73-run victory in U19 Asian Cricket Cup spectacle

Afghanistan’s U19 cricket team secured a commanding 73-run victory over Nepal U19 in an enthralling Asia Cup Under 19 match at the ICC Academy Ground No 2 on Sunday.

Opting to bat first, Afghanistan posted a formidable 261/9 in 49.3 overs, setting the stage for a gripping contest.

The innings showcased a blend of explosive hitting and strategic play. Opener Wafiullah Tarakhil provided an early spark with a quickfire 15 off 9 balls, but it was Jamshid Zadran’s masterclass that anchored the innings. Zadran retired hurt after a resilient 106 from 152 deliveries, marked by 8 boundaries, forming the backbone of Afghanistan’s total.

Middle-order batsman Numan Shah Agha made a vital contribution with a blazing 60 off 41 balls, including 5 fours and 3 sixes, pushing the run rate significantly. However, Nepal’s bowlers, especially Hemant Dhami and Gulshan Kumar Jha, made crucial breakthroughs, restricting Afghanistan under the 270-mark.

Chasing 262, Nepal U19 faced a challenging task. Arjun Kumal played a magnificent innings of 91, displaying class and composure in his 108-ball knock, adorned with 13 fours. However, Afghanistan’s bowlers, led by Faridoon Dawoodzai (3/31) and Naseer Khan Maroofkhi (3/33), consistently took wickets, maintaining pressure on the opposition.

Nepal’s innings folded for 188 in 40.1 overs, with Afghanistan’s bowlers exploiting conditions adeptly. The Afghan fielders, particularly Numan Shah Agha behind the stumps, were instrumental in key dismissals.

Afghanistan’s comprehensive victory showcased balanced cricket — robust batting, disciplined bowling, and sharp fielding. While Jamshid Zadran stood out with his century, it was a collective effort that propelled them to success.

The match, a spectacle of rising standards in youth cricket, underscored Afghanistan’s growing prowess in the Under 19 circuit. Despite the loss, Arjun Kumal’s innings was a silver lining for Nepal, highlighting the talent within their ranks.