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Heartbreak for Afghanistan in ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup as Australia reach final

Australia defeated Afghanistan by six wickets in the semis on Monday to reach the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup

cricket Updated: Jan 29, 2018 12:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup,Australian U-19 cricket team,Afghanistan U-19 cricket team
Jonathan Merlo bagged four wickets as Australia cruised to a six-wicket win over Afghanistan in their semi-final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup in Christchurch on Monday.(ICC/Twitter)

Australia have booked their place in the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup after beating high-flying Afghanistan by six wickets in their semi-final clash at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Monday.

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Afghanistan got off to a poor start and kept losing wickets at regular intervals as the Aussies piled on the pressure.

All-rounder Jonathan Merlo was the pick of the Australian bowlers as he bagged 4/24 from his 10 overs to bowl Afghanistan out for 181 in 48 overs. Zak Evans picked two wickets.

It was wicket-keeper batsman Ikram Ali Khil, who resisted the Australian attack with a brave 80 off 119 balls, helping his side put on board something to fight for.

In response, Jack Edwards anchored the Australian innings with a fine 72-run knock to put them on course for a win.

Off-spinner Mujeeb Zadran, picked up by IPL franchisee Kings XI Punjab for the next edition, had provided an early breakthrough by dismissing opener Max Bryant (4) but Australia had more than able line-up to handle Afghanistan’s challenge.

Qais Ahmed picked 2/35 for Afghanistan, but it was too little, too late as the Aussies comfortably chased down the total with six wickets and 75 balls to spare.

Australia will await the winner of the second semi-final between India and Pakistan in the final of the tournament.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 10:07 IST