India must wait until Saturday evening to find out who it will play in the decider of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2008 after the semi-final between South Africa and Pakistan was interupted by rain on Friday night with the game very finely poised.
At what is statistically one of the drier times of the year in Malaysia, the rain has had little impact on the tournament so far, but it fell with great force on Friday night just as the match was turning into a potential classic.
Having fielded first, Pakistan conceded 260-8 off 50 overs to South Africa and it began its chase in a shaky manner, losing both opener Umar Akmal and number three Shaan Khan with just 15 runs on the board.
But Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Amin dug in and put together a good partnership in the face of some fine SA bowling, particularly in the shape of left-arm medium pacer Wayne Parnell, who was getting the new ball to swing in prodigiously into the right-handers.
With the score at 61-2, the rain came and three overs were lost from the Pakistan innings before it was possible to retake the field with the target adjusted accordingly to 252.
Shahzad and Amin then brought the score up to 86-2 off 18.5 overs before the heavens really opened. No more play was possible on the drenched Kinrara Oval and because the minimum of 20 overs was not bowled the game will now resume at 1000 (local time - 12.30 IST) with 47 overs still available to Pakistan.
Earlier, South Africa had batted well having been put into bat in overcast conditions.
JJ Smuts (58) and Pieter Malan got the junior Proteas off to the solid start putting on 35 before Malan was caught behind off the bowling of Adil Raza for 15.
Smuts and Rilee Rossouw then put on 71 for the second wicket as Pakistan struggled to keep the free-scoring batsmen under wraps. Once Smuts was out, Jonathan Vandiar took up the mantle, hitting a fine run-a-ball half-century in a knock that included five boundaries.
But the Pakistan bowlers fought hard and no one more so than captain Imad Wasim. The left-arm slow bowler ended with figures of 3-44 off 10 overs and he was ably supported by Ahmad Shahzad (2-35 off eight).
SA's total could yet prove to be a winning one as Pakistan resume in the morning knowing it will have to bat very well to get through to its third U/19 CWC final in a row.
Meanwhile, at Johor Cricket Academy, Ireland registered its first win of the tournament with a 69-run victory over Bermuda in the semi-final of the Plate Championship play-off. Having been beaten by Bermuda in the group stage, Ireland was clearly out for revenge and managed to amass a competitive total of 236-7 off 50 overs.
James Hall, playing in his second U/19 CWC, top-scored for Ireland with 75 and Paul Stirling made 59 as the pair put on a crucial 130 runs for the fourth wicket. In fact, Ireland should perhaps have made an even bigger total but Bermuda's bowlers came back well in the closing overs to restrict the Irish.
In replay, Bermuda chased well and at one stage was 122-3 with captain Rodney Trott and Malachi Jones going well. But then Ireland skipper Greg Thompson brought himself on to bowl and immediately had an effect.
The tall leg-spinner dismissed Trott and Jones and ended up with figures of 5-26 as Ireland cantered home to win by 69 runs. Thompson and co. will now take on Zimbabwe in the final of the Plate play-off at the same venue on Saturday.
As that game goes on in Johor, the Plate Championship final will take place between the West Indies and defending champion Nepal at Bayuemas in Kuala Lumpur. Play in that game, as well as the Super League play-off final between England and Australia at Royal Selangor Club, will start at 1000 local time.
Scores in brief:
Super League Semi-Final 2
At Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur, rain stopped play - match will resume at 1000 (local time - 1230 IST) on Saturday with revised target of 252 to win off 47 overs.
South Africa 260-8, 50 overs (JJ Smuts 58, Rilee Rossouw 53, Jonathan Vandiar 50, Reeza Hendricks 27 not out; Imad Wasim 3-44, Ahmad Shahzad 2-35)
Pakistan 86-2, 18.5 overs (Ahmad Shahzad 44 not out, Umar Amin 22 not out; Wayne Parnell 2-39)
Plate Championship Play-Off Semi-Final 2
At Johor Cricket Academy, Ireland beat Bermuda by 69 runs
Ireland 236-7, 50 overs (James Hall 75, Paul Stirling 59; Rodney Trott 4-39, Tre Govia 2-37)
Bermuda 167 all out, 48.1 overs (Rodney Trott 53, Malachi Jones 49; Greg Thompson 5-26, Andrew Britten 2-21).