Afghanistan Under-19 boys have done themselves proud by qualifying for the quarterfinals in ICC Under-19 World Cup. They now face an inconsequential clash against Ireland in the last league group D clash against Ireland who has been knocked out of the tournament. Afghanistan have posted two wins against Pakistan and Sri Lanka to seal a quarters berth. Ireland lost both their league games to be ousted out of the tournament. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of Afghanistan Under-19 vs Ireland Under-19 clash in World Cup.
Afghanistan Under-19 Strengths:
Strong batting order: Afghanistan Under-19 batsmen produced few brilliant knocks to register two wins out of two so far. Darwish Rasooli was extremely impressive with his two fifties – 76* against Pakistan, and 63 against Sri Lanka. Other Afghanistan batsmen such as Ikram Ali Khil too have played their parts to perfection.
Bowling attack: Afghanistan bowled out Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the two matches to prove they have quality bowling line-up. Skipper Naveen-ul-Haq has led from the front with six wickets in two games. Mujeeb Zadran is yet to pick up a wicket, but he is extremely competitive as well. Other bowlers have also contributed with the ball.
Complacency: Afghanistan Under-19 boys can be guilty of being over-confident and letting go off their opponents especially when they have sealed a quarters berth. Afghanistan must guard themselves against complacency to make a strong bid for title.
Strong opening pair: Ireland have strong opening pair in Jamie Grassi and Mark Donegan who produced 73-run opening stand to give a tough fight to Sri Lanka in the last game. Other batsmen too chipped in with useful cameos to put up a fighting total against Sri Lanka, but it did not seem to be enough.
Bowling lacking penetration: Ireland were bowled out for 97 in the clash against Pakistan, while Sri Lanka wiped out the target of 208 with 12.3 overs and 7 wickets to spare in the last clash. Hence, Ireland bowling lacks the temperament to survive tough challenges posed by the opposition batsmen.
Prediction: Afghanistan have beaten top teams such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka in the last two league games and they look favourite to go past a struggling Ireland. Our vote goes to Afghanistan Under-19 boys.