Benoni [South Africa], February 8: Oliver Peake, Harry Dixon's fighting knocks and Raf MacMillan's heroics helped Australia overcome Pakistan in a nail-bitter semifinal clash by the barest of margins to book a place in the ICC Under 19 World Cup 2024 final against defending champions India. Australia defeated Pakistan by one wicket after Ali Raza wreaked havoc on Aussie batters with his four-wicket haul. An interesting chase brewed up as Pakistan fought back on the back of Raza and Arafat Minhas. However, Australia managed to prevail in the low-scoring 50-over match. Australia’s Tom Straker Registers Best Bowling Figures in Semifinal or Final of ICC U19 World Cup, Achieves Feat With 6/24 Against Pakistan.

Harry Dixon and Sam Konstas helped Australia get off to a solid start in its chase of 180. The pair scored 33 runs in the opening Powerplay. However, Ali Raza responded for Pakistan at the opening of the second Powerplay. He got one to nip back in and sent Konstas' off-stump cartwheeling. Soon after, Pakistan got a fortuitous break in the 14th over when Hugh Weibgen smacked Naveed Khan's full toss straight into the palms of Haroon Arshad at cover. Wickets continued to fall, with Harjas Singh being run out in the 16th over due to a misunderstanding, and Ryan Hicks being bowled by Ubaid Shah in the next.

Dixon and Ollie Peake then worked together to recreate the Australian innings. Their steady progress was aided by good stroke play and Australia's chase was soon back on track. Dixon completed his half-century in the 24th over. However, just as the game was swinging in Australia's favour, Arafat Minhas bowled Dixon for a beauty. The left-arm spinner bowled excellent control, and Australia's asking rate increased. The addition of Tom Campbell aided a left-right hitting combination in operation. Campbell and Peake followed up on their prior cooperation, helping Australia get closer to their goal. Pakistan needed a special act to get back into the game, and Minhas delivered. He bowled Campbell for 25 in the 39th over. Then Raza removed Peake for 49 to leave the game evenly poised. India U19 Team Attends Australia vs Pakistan ICC U19 World Cup 2024 Semifinal, Video Goes Viral.

Raza's double-wicket final over put Pakistan just one away from an appearance in the final. However, MacMillan kept his cool and saw Australia through in the final over. Earlier, Azan Awais and Arafat Minhas powered Pakistan to 179 against Australia. Hugh Weibgen's Australia won the toss and decided to field first and was successful in stopping the 'Boys in Green' at 179 in the first inning. Shamyl Hussain (17 runs from 23 balls) and Shahzaib Khan (4 runs from 30 balls) opened for Pakistan but failed to make a solid partnership to help their side. In the first powerplay, Pakistan could score only 27 runs. The Aussie bowling attack picked up two wickets in the first 10 overs. However, Azan Awais (52 runs from 91 balls) took control of the match after coming to the crease at the number 3 position. In the 33rd over, Pakistan reached the 100-run mark with the help of Awais and Minhas. Apart from Awais, Arafat Minhas (52 runs from 61 balls) was the other batter who helped Pakistan give a decent target to chase.

Australia dominated the third powerplay and bagged five wickets between the 41st and 50th over. Meanwhile, the 'Boys in Green' suffered as they could only get 47 runs. Other batters like Saad Baig (3 runs from 11 balls), Ahmad Hassan (4 runs from 18 balls), and Haroon Arshad (8 runs from 27 balls) all displayed a sloppy performance at Willowmoore Park. On the other hand, Tom Straker led the Aussie bowling attack with his six-wicket haul and successfully bundled Pakistan at 179. Other bowlers like Mahli Beardman, Callum Vidler, MacMilllan, and Tom Campbell picked one wicket each.

Brief score: Pakistan U-19 179 (Azan Awais 52, Arafat Minhas 52, Shamyl Hussain 17; Tom Straker 6/24) vs Australia U-19 181/9 (Harry Dixon 50, Raf MacMilllan 19*; Ali Raza 4-34) vs (ANI)

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