Defending champions Pakistan continued its smooth passage through the ICC Under-19 World Cup with a six-wicket victory over Australia at the Kinrara Oval on Monday that booked its place in Friday's semi-final against South Africa.
Winning the toss and choosing to field, captain Imad Wasim's men took no time to get into their stride, with Adil Raza immediately making a double strike, dismissing both Australia openers with just one run on the board.
From that moment, Australia never looked like winning the match as Pakistan's seam attack of Raza and Azhar Attari laid a great foundation for spinners Imad and Umer Akmal to push home the advantage.
Only James Pattinson (34 not out) looked comfortable in what were conditions more suited to the slower, lower wickets of Pakistan than the bouncier, flatter tracks of Australia. In the end, the team was all out for 129, significantly short of where captain Michael Hill would have wanted, especially given that he said afterwards he would have batted anyway had he won the toss.
But like most Aussie teams, this one was not in the mood to roll over just because it had been bowled out for a low score. Jeremy Smith and Josh Hazlewood took early wickets as Pakistan stuttered to 32-3 and at that stage, the Australians' tails were up. But Ahmad Shahzad (40) and, in particular, man-of-the-match Ali Asad (63 not out) took the game to Australia's bowlers and were not afraid to play shots despite the high-pressure circumstances.
Shahzad was eventually out just before the end and Pakistan eased to victory with six wickets and 12.1 overs to spare. Imad's men will now face South Africa in Friday's semi-final in what will be another clash of styles in front of ESPN-STAR Sports' TV cameras with the game being televised live around the world.
New Zealand completes the line-up for the semi-finals as the junior Black Caps produced a classy performance against Sri Lanka in the other Super League game of the day at Royal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur.
Batting first, New Zealand made 213, thanks most to George Worker (48), Fraser Colson (39) and captain Kane Williamson (34), as Sri Lanka bowled well to contain them. But as he has done throughout this tournament so far, New Zealand opening bowler Tim Southee put the ball in the right areas and the Sri Lanka batsmen were unable to deal with him.
Southee, who has already played ODIs for the full New Zealand team, removed the top three batsmen as Sri Lanka slumped to 44-4, a position from which it never really recovered.
In the end, Sri Lanka -- the host from two years ago -- could not produce the goods and fell 81 runs short of victory.
New Zealand will face India in the first semi-final on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a difficult tournament continued for Ireland at MPTI, Johor, as it lost by seven wickets to the West Indies in the third Plate Championship quarter-final. Ireland lost the toss and was inserted by West Indies' stand-in captain Steven Jacobs with the Caribbean opening bowlers not taking long to make an impact.
Ireland stuttered to 32-3 but then a 44-run partnership between James Hall (45) and James Shannon (20) threatened to get it to a competitive total. But once Veerasammy Permaul had made the breakthrough, Jacobs ran through the middle order, ending with figures of 3-18 off 10 overs as Ireland limped to 156-9 in 50 overs.
The run chase took just 23.1 overs with Kieran Powell (50), Kyle Corbin (33), Steven Jacobs (40 not out) and Darren Bravo (30 not out) making sure the job was done without a significant hiccup.
In the other Plate Championship quarter-final at Johor Cricket Academy, Papua New Guinea easily rose to the challenge of Bermuda, in the battle of the qualifiers. PNG, who made it through to the U/19 CWC by winning the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier, made short work of Bermuda's meagre total of 102 all out.
PNG got the runs in 18.4 overs thanks mainly to a fine innings of 76 not out in just 55 balls from Tony Ura. The knock included eight fours and four sixes as the Bermudan bowlers struggled to live with the hard-hitting number-three batsman.
PNG will play the West Indies in the semi-final of the Plate Championship at MPTI, Johor on Friday.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) the first semi-final of the Plate Championship will take place with Namibia taking on defending Plate champion Nepal at Johor Cricket Academy. Meanwhile, in the Plate play-off semi-final Malaysia plays Zimbabwe at MPTI, Johor. There are no games in the Super League tomorrow as the top four sides prepare for their semi-final clashes later in the week.
Scores in brief:
Super League Quarter-Final 3
At Royal Selangor Club, New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 80 runs
New Zealand 213 all out, 49.5 overs (George Worker 48, Fraser Colson 39, Kane Williamson 34; Umesh Karunarathna 3-38, Roshane Silva 3-39)
Sri Lanka 133 all out, 42.1 overs (Sachith Pathirana 42; Nick Beard 3-15, Tim Southee 3-25, Anurag Verma 2-22)
Super League Quarter-Final 4
At Kinrara Oval, Pakistan beat Australia by six wickets
Australia 127, 47.1 overs (James Pattinson 34; Adil Raza 3-26, Umar Akmal 2-20, Imad Wasim 2-21, Azhar Attari 2-23)
Pakistan 130.4 (Ahmad Shahzad 40, Ali Asad 63 not out; Josh Hazlewood 2-28)
Plate Championship Quarter-Final 3
At MPTI, Johor, West Indies beat Ireland by seven wickets
Ireland 154-9, 50 overs (James Hall 45; Steven Jacobs, Delorn Johnson 3-29)
West Indies 158-3, 23.1 overs (Kieran Powell 50, Steven Jacobs 40 not out, Kyle Corbin 33, Darren Bravo 30 not out; Greg Thompson 2-51)
Plate Championship Quarter-Final 4
At Johor Cricket Academy, PNG beat Bermuda by seven wickets
Bermuda 102 all out, 34.2 overs (Joel Tom 3-26, Jacob Mado 2-12)
PNG 108-3, 18.4 overs, 18.4 overs (Tony Ura 76 not out).