Cricket: Afghanistan fail to make Cup semis despite win

Cricket: Afghanistan fail to make Cup semis despite win

Afghanistan played out of their skin to beat the fancied India Under-23 team by 28 runs at Kallang on Thursday.

But that was still not enough for them to qualify for the semi-finals of the Asian Cricket Council's Emerging Teams Cup, which provides an opportunity for promising teams to play against established Test-playing countries.

The fast-progressing Asian nation, who already have One-Day International status, had to bowl out India U-23s under 130, after scoring 184-7 in 50 overs, to pip Pakistan U-23s (net run rate +0.425) to a semi-final berth from Group A.

They did their best - keeping the India U-23s down to 118-7 in the 43rd over - before the side packed with Indian Premier League and first-class players struck some hefty blows to finish on 156-9 in 50 overs.

In fact, four byes conceded off the last ball helped the Indian side (NRR +0.440) to top the group after all three sides finished on four points each. Afghanistan ended up third with an NRR of +0.177.

"India are a top team, beating them is a big thing," said Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi, 28. "We played well throughout the tournament. It's fate that we are not in the semi-finals."

India U-23s captain Suryakumar Yadav, 22, dismissed the notion that over-confidence cost them the match.

"Poor fielding let us down," he said. "When we batted, we didn't read the wicket well. We should have taken more singles and twos. No doubt, we can lift ourselves."

The India U-23s will have to shun their casual approach if they are to win their semi-final against the United Arab Emirates at Kallang on Friday.

The Associate nation beat Bangladesh U-23s by 59 runs at the Singapore Cricket Club (Padang) yesterday to finish second in Group B.

"Three wins out of three matches would have been much better for the morale. But we have few worries," said Yadav. "UAE are a good side and we have to take the game seriously. We are well-prepared."

The other semi-final will be between the Pakistan U-23s and the Sri Lanka U-23s, who topped Group B, at the Padang.

"It'll be a tough game," said Singapore's captain Saad Khan Janjua. "Sri Lanka will have to score around 230 against Pakistan, who have good spinners and are more aggressive, to stand a chance of winning."

santosh@sph.com.sg


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