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Bumper Friday Awaits Cricket Followers

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Pakistan U19 and Bangladesh U19 will go toe to toe in their last Group C fixture of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 in Potchefstroom on Friday, 24 January, with the winner topping the group and featuring in the third Super League quarter-final at the same venue on 30 January. 

Friday’s winner will take on the second-placed side from Group D, which will either be Afghanistan, South Africa or United Arab Emirates, while the losing side from the Pakistan versus Bangladesh match will play against the Group D winner in the fourth Super League quarter-final on 31 January in Benoni. 

While the teenagers will be fighting for top position in Group C in Potchefstroom, almost 14,000km away in Lahore, their senior teams will lock horns in first of the three Twenty20 Internationals at the Gaddafi Stadium. 

This means fans and followers of the two sides will have one eye on proceedings in Potchefstroom, while the other eye will be following progress in Lahore. 

Pakistan U19 have played well as a unit in the two matches. On Wednesday, Pakistan had slipped to 74 for three but recovered to 294 for nine after half-centuries from Mohammad Haris (81), Qasim Akram (54) and Fahad Munir (53).

Zimbabwe, in their run-chase, were going strong when they reached 186 for two in the 36th over. But the bowlers stuck to their task and succeeded in dismissing the African side for 256 in the 47th over.

Tahir Hussain (three for 42), Abbas Afridi (three for 55), Qasim Akram (two for 41) and Aamir Ali (two for 51) shared wickets. 

Looking ahead to Friday’s match, Qasim Akram, who produced an all-round performance on Wednesday, said: “I am really happy to see Bangladesh team touring Lahore. I urge cricket fans, my family and friends to watch the T20I matches at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

“We also have a crucial match against Bangladesh tomorrow and I'm hopeful that we will do very well. “We are a strong team and by winning the game we can top our group which has been our aim from the start. 

“We have worked hard both here and during the camp in Lahore so we are prepared for Bangladesh.

“When I went out to bat against Zimbabwe the situation was a bit tricky for us. I took no pressure of the situation and tried to play my own game. Similarly, during my bowling spell, the captain asked me to contain the batsmen and not to chase wickets. I am happy I managed that well and also picked up two wickets in my 10-over spell. 

“Irfan Khan took a stunning catch of my bowling at a critical juncture of the game and that catch changed the whole complexion of the game. 

“As a batsman my strategy is not to let the opposition dominate. I'll continue to play in the same manner regardless of the opponents.” 

Pakistan had defeated Scotland by seven wickets in their tournament opener which was played at the NWU Oval in Potchefstroom.

In contrast, Bangladesh also have two wins in two matches. They defeated Zimbabwe by nine wickets on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method, while their second victory was against Scotland, which they achieved by seven wickets. 

Pakistan squad:

Rohail Nazir (captain and wicketkeeper), Abbas Afridi (Peshawar), Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (Quetta), Amir Ali (Larkana), Amir Khan (Peshawar), Arish Ali Khan (Karachi), Fahad Munir (Lahore),  Haider Ali (vice-captain), Qasim Akram (Lahore), Mohammad Haris (Peshawar), Mohammad Huraira (Sialkot), Mohammad Irfan Khan (Lahore),  Mohammad Shehzad (Multan), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (North Waziristan) and Tahir Hussain (Multan)