Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
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Sri Lanka U19 completed their tour of Pakistan on Tuesday, after winning the final one-day played at National Bank Stadium, Karachi. The tour consisted of a solitary four-day match and a five-match one-day series.
Pakistan U19 began the series on a winning note after registering a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over the visitors in the four-day match. Left-handed opening Shahzaib Khan was the most impressive batter in the red-ball game, scoring 161 in the first innings and dispatching 12 boundaries and one six. He was duly named player of the match for his effort.
Azan Awais also produced a century in the game and amassed 104 in the first innings. Right-arm pacer Mohammad Ibtisam was the pick of the bowlers as he returned five wickets. Fast bowler Aimal Khan had four wickets while spinners Ali Asfand and Naveed Ahmed Khan got three wickets apiece.
Although Pakistan U19 eventually conceded the series 3-2 to Sri Lanka U19, the competition remained fierce with the series hanging in balance ahead of the last one-day. The Pakistan team showcased noteworthy individual and collective performances.
Left-handed opener Shamyl Hussain was the highest scorer for either side over the course of the series. He accumulated 326 runs at an average of 65.20 including one century and two half-centuries. Shamyl’s highest score of the series came in the third one-day where he smashed 150 off 109 balls with 13 fours and seven sixes.
All-rounder Arafat Minhas had a series to remember. He was the second-best batter, managing 272 runs which came from three half-centuries, including a match-winning knock of 95. He also grabbed five wickets in the series.
Pakistan’s right-arm pacers Ubaid Shah and Aftab Ahmed were prolific in the series. Ubaid was the joint-highest wicket-taker of the series, accounting for nine wickets at an average of 21.67 in four games. Aftab grabbed eight wickets at an average of 17.63 in four matches. Ibtisam got seven wickets in five games as well.
In the spin bowling department, off-spinner Naveed Ahmed Khan picked up seven wickets in five matches while leg-spinner Ahmed Hussain had six scalps to his name.
Head coach Pakistan U19 Shahid Anwar, reviewing the series, said: “It was a remarkable opportunity for the boys and they have taken a lot of positives from that. While it was disappointing to lose the one-day series and we could have done better, it is noteworthy that the best bowler and the best batter of the series were both from our side.
“The upcoming Asia Cup and World Cup were on our radar so we gave chances and played various combinations so that we can experiment and understand our best combination before we go to Dubai and Sri Lanka for these assignments.
“Shamyl has proved himself as a solid opener and Arafat outclassed throughout the series. Captain Saad Baig displayed impressive captaincy as well. Ubaid was amazing with the ball too. All of these boys are really skillful. They just require more exposure and more game-time to gel together.
“We have assessed our fielding thoroughly. We had made some lapses in the field in the first couple of games but there was a lot of improvement. Our middle-order and lower-order need more work and that is what we will focus on when we hold the next training camps.
“We are committed to working on the shortcomings but there have been a lot of positives to look at, despite the loss.”