Dubai: Skipper Sami Aslam (108) made a magnificent century as Pakistan colts held on to their nerves to pull off a narrow two-wicket win over India in the Under-19 Asia Cup here Tuesday. Pakistan chased down a challenging 251 with just three balls to spare and registered their third straight win of the tournament.
Riding on Ricky Bhui's quick-fire half-century, India scored 250 for seven off their quota of 50 overs after electing to bat at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. India got off to a solid start with openers Ankush Bains (41) and Akhil Herwadkar (31) putting on 74 runs in 13.3 overs for the opening wicket.
However, Pakistan leg-spinner Karamat Ali brought his side back into the match as he removed the top three batsmen, including skipper Vijay Zol (20) to reduce India to 116 for three. Ali kept a tight leash in Indian batters as he finished with figures of four for 28 in his 10 overs.
In the process, Ricky put on small but significant partnerships of 36, 42 and 45 with Sanju Samson (38), Sarfaraz Khan (20) and Deepak Hooda (24) to take side to a testing total. Ricky's 66-ball-64 included three fours and two sixes.
In reply, left-handed Aslam led from the front as he smacked Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground. He laid the foundation for his side and put on 72 runs with Hasan Raza (30) for the third wicket. Aslam 119-ball knock included 11 fours and a six.
Kamaran Ghulam (55) then took on the mantle to take his side to the finishing line. But two consecutive wickets -- Ghulam on the final ball of the penultimate over and followed by another on the next delivery -- made the contest intriguing. Pakistan required five off five balls to seal the match, which Zafar Gohar (8 not out) achieved by hitting consecutive boundaries of Chama Milind.
Both teams have already qualified for the semi-finals in which India will meet Sri Lanka on January 2 while Pakistan will clash against Afghanistan on the same day.
Brief Scores: India U-19: 250/7 in 50 overs (Ricky Bhui 64, Sanju Samson 38; Karamat Ali 4/28). Pakistan U-19: 253/8 in 49.3 overs (Sami Aslam 108, Kamran Ghulam 55; Kuldeep Yadav 2/40).