Qualifiers Afghanistan stunned Australia in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup on Monday, beating the three-time champions by 36 runs.
Afghanistan, who qualified for the tournament by winning the Asian Cricket Council’s U19 Elite Cup, batted first after winning the toss and compiled a decent total of 253 before being bowled out in the last of their 50 overs.
Australia could only muster 217 in reply before they were bowled out in exactly 48 overs.
It was Afghanistan’s first win in the tournament after losing their opening match to Bangladesh by 10 wickets on Saturday and they are now tied with Australia on two points in group B.
They next take on minnows Namibia today, while Australia — who have a better run rate — face Bangladesh in a virtual knock-out encounter on the same day.
“I don’t think many people expected us to defeat Australia, but we did it and we did it convincingly,” proud Afghanistan captain Nasir Jamal said.
“We hope the people at home are enjoying the victory as much as we are. We play for our country and our people and we love to make them happy and proud,” he added.
Afghanistan’s innings was built around three half-centuries: Mohammad Mujtaba’s 75, which included five fours and two sixes, Ihsanullah’s 63 and Hashmatullah Shaidi’s 57.
After losing opener Usman Ghani with just two runs on the board, man-of-the-match Mujtaba added 126 runs for the second wicket with Ihsanullah. Shaidi then anchored the innings and was the ninth batsman to be dismissed in the 50th over.
In contrast, only four Australian batsmen managed to reach double figures and only James Bazley, who remained unbeaten on 54, converted it into anything substantial.
Right-arm pace bowler Abdullah Adil claimed four wickets, while left-arm orthodox Sharafuddin Ashraf chipped in with three wickets.
The fortunes of Australia’s under-19 side contrast markedly with the senior XI, who followed up a 5-0 whitewash of Ashes rivals England with a convincing 281-run win in the first Test against South Africa.
In another match played in Dubai on Monday, defending champions India survived a mighty scare from Scotland.
Chasing a meager target of 88 after Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav claimed a hat-trick, India lost half their side for 22 before Sarfaraz Khan and Deepak Hooda saw them through.