Ghafari steals show again to deny SA seventh place

Farhan Zakhail of Afghanistan congratulates Shafiqullah Ghafari of Afghanistan on bowling Luke Beaufort of South Africa during the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 7th Place Play-Off match at Willowmoore Park on February 5, 2020 in Benoni
Farhan Zakhail of Afghanistan congratulates Shafiqullah Ghafari of Afghanistan on bowling Luke Beaufort of South Africa during the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 7th Place Play-Off match at Willowmoore Park on February 5, 2020 in Benoni
Image: Matthew Lewis-ICC/Getty Images

 

 

Afghanistan ended their ICC U19 Cricket World Cup campaign on a high as victory over the hosts saw them finish seventh in SA.

An unbeaten half-century from Ibrahim Zadran featured in the successful run chase after they bowled the Junior Proteas out for 154, thanks to Shafiqullah Ghafari’s four-wicket haul.

Having won the toss and elected to bat in the 7th Place Playoff, SA suffered a stuttering start and lost three early wickets, including captain Bryce Parsons (6), who ends the tournament with 265 runs in six matches.

The hosts soon experienced another setback when Jonathan Bird was struck by a fierce delivery on the elbow from Abdul Rahman, forcing the left-hander to retire hurt on 17.

Reeling on 44 for three after the opening 10 overs, Luke Beaufort (19) and Tyrese Karelse (10) steadied the ship with a promising stand before Ghafari wreaked havoc in the middle order.

The spinner, who took figures of six for 15 in the opening game against SA, claimed three wickets in succession to dismiss Karelse, Beaufort and Khanya Cotani (3).

An important 51-run, eighth-wicket stand between Merrick Brett (28) and Mondli Khumalo (26) helped the home side into triple figures before a late cameo from the returning Bird (34) carried SA to a competitive total.

Ghafari finished with leading figures of four for 15 as he ended the tournament with 16 wickets, while Fazal Farooqi contributed with three for 33.

In their response, Afghanistan made light work of their pursuit of the target, with Sediq Atal (40) the aggressor in his opening partnership with Zadran, dispatching four fours and three sixes to help his team take control of the proceedings.

Zadran and Abdul Rahman (27) put on a partnership worth 86 runs to edge their side towards the win.

Zadran recorded a patient 73 off 113 deliveries, with seven fours, to anchor his team as they strolled to victory with almost 10 overs to go.

“The way I get wickets, especially against SA, is to keep it very simple and to not overthink things,” man-of-the-match Ghafari said.

“I focused on my line and length, and the basics worked well for me.” – Supersport.com

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