Sabih Azhar reviews Pakistan U19 triumph in Bangladesh
Pakistan U19 will depart from Bangladesh today after a memorable tour, where Pakistan U19 won in all three formats – four-day, one-day and T20 against Bangladesh U19.
The series which was played in two cities of Bangladesh – Chattogram and Rajshahi from 30 April to 17 May, included a one-off four-day, five-match one-day series and a solitary T20 match.
In the four-day match played at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram from 30 April to 3 May, Pakistan dominated with both bat and ball. Left-handed opening batter Shahzaib Khan scored 174 runs in the first innings, while left-arm spinner Ali Asfand claimed six wickets in the match and nine wickets were shared amongst pacers Amir Hassan and Mohammad Ismail as Pakistan registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over the hosts.
In the five-match one-day series, the 17-year-old Shahzaib continued his form and was declared player of the series in Pakistan’s 4-1 win. The opening batter scored 264 runs from five matches, which included one century and two half-centuries. His opening partner, Azan Awais, topped the batting charts with 269 runs from five outings in the one-day series. Azan also scored one century and two half-centuries in the series.
In the bowling unit, vice-captain and spinner Ali Asfand bagged 10 wickets. Another left-arm spinner Arafat Minhas and fast bowlers Amir Hassan and Aimal Khan snapped eight wickets each. Left-arm pacer Amir’s eight wickets from four matches include figures of five for 24, which was the only five-fer by any bowler in the one-day series.
In the solitary T20 match at the Shaheed Kamruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi on Wednesday, another left-hander, Shamyl Hussain’s half-century led Pakistan U19 to a four-wicket win over the hosts. The tourists achieved the challenging 160-run target with five balls to spare.
Head Coach Sabih Azhar, reviewing the performance of the team, said: “It was not easy to beat Bangladesh at their own backyard. I am satisfied with the achievement of the team, but this does not mean we get relaxed; there are still some areas which the coaches have marked and there are still room for improvements in that.
“The players have worked really hard in the practice sessions and they have executed the plans really well on the field, which reflected in team’s performance in the series.
“We are looking ahead now with a focus on finding the best winning combination that consistently performs. Before coming into the series, we not only worked on the players physically, but we also worked on the mental aspect of the game to prepare players for performing at crucial junctures of the match and it showed as the team lost just one match on the tour.
“We are fully focused on doing well in next year’s ICC U19 World Cup, even though there is still time for the event. After the series win, we are now working on how the team can win championships.”