Dubai: Afghanistan caused a major upset in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup when it defeated three-time champion and last edition runner-up Australia by 36 runs at Abu Dhabi Oval 2 today.
Half-centuries by Mohammad Mujtaba, Ihsanullah and Hashmatullah Shaidi helped Afghanistan post a respectable 253 in 49.2 overs, before fast bowler Abdullah Adil and left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf shared seven wickets between them to bowl Australia out for 217.
Mujtaba (75) and Ihsanullah (63) added 126 runs for the second wicket and later Hashmatullah (57) provided a late impetus to Afghanistan`s innings after it had elected to bat first.
In turn, Australia managed just one partnership of note when for the fourth wicket, Jake Doran (45) and Damien Mortimer (43) put on 70 runs as it was bowled out in 48 overs with James Bazley top scoring with 54 not out.
Abdullah returned figures of 9-0-45-4 while Sharafuddin had figures of 9-1-55-3.
In the other matches of the day, Bangladesh defeated Namibia by 52 runs at Abu Dhabi Oval 1 and two-time former champion Pakistan recorded a comfortable 145 runs victory over Papua New Guinea (PNG).
After today`s results, India has qualified for the quarter-finals from Group A while the second quarter-finalist will be confirmed after Wednesday`s matches between India and PNG, and Pakistan and Scotland. At present, both Pakistan and Scotland sit with one win apiece.
In Group B, the situation has becomes extremely exciting following Australia`s defeat. On Wednesday, Bangladesh will play Australia and Afghanistan will take on Namibia.
If Afghanistan and Australia win their matches, then there will be a three-way tie between Afghanistan, Australia and Bangladesh with net run-rate to decide which two sides advance from this stage. At present, Bangladesh has a net run-rate of +0.924, Australia (+0.650) and Afghanistan (-0.031).
South Africa from Group C and Sri Lanka from Group D had sealed their places in the quarter-finals yesterday after recording back-to-back victories.
While the top two sides from each group will progress to the Super League, the bottom two sides will feature in the Plate Championship.
Pakistan bounced back from Saturday`s loss against India, to beat PNG by 145 runs.
Openers Imam-ul-Haq and captain Sami Aslam put on 125 runs for the first wicket - their second successive century partnership - as Pakistan posted 283 for eight in 50 overs.
Imam top scored with 88 that came off 117 balls and included nine fours, while Sami hit 10 fours in a 78-ball 62.
In turn, PNG was dismissed for 138 in 30.5 overs with opener Kiplin Doriga scoring a 56-ball 51 that included three fours and a six. For Pakistan, left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar was the pick of bowlers when he returned figures of 8.5-0-35-4, while fast bowler Zia-ul-Haq took two for 26.
Bangladesh`s Mossadek Hossain produced a quality all-round performance as the Asian side carved out a comfortable 52 runs victory over Namibia.
Mossadek first scored a 70 not out from 76 balls with four fours to lift Bangladesh to 233 for five and then returned figures of 10-0-29-3 as Namibia was skittled out for 181 in 49 overs.