U-19 WC semi-final: Australia wary of Naseem Shah's younger brother Ubaid

NewsDrum Desk
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Benoni (South Africa), Feb 7 (PTI) Naseem Shah has been a nightmare for batters at the senior level and now his brother Ubaid is ready to turn the heat on as Pakistan square off with Australia in the second semi-final of the ICC U-19 World Cup here on Thursday.

The winner will meet a formidable Indian team, which is in its ninth championship final and looking to lift its sixth trophy.

India and Pakistan have earlier met once in the U-19 World Cup final in 2006 and that team which comprised Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja had lost the final to Sarfaraz Ahmed's side. The younger brother of Naseem, Ubaid Shah stands joint second in the wicket-taking chart in this edition, sitting behind South Africa speedster Kwena Maphaka.

Beginning with a 4/26 against Afghanistan, the pacer hasn't looked back. His skillful display with both the new and old ball meant that the bowler has made an impact in all stages of the game and helped Pakistan come back into matches at crucial junctures.

This came to the fore against Bangladesh when Ubaid overcame the ignominy of having dropped a catch to pick the crucial wicket of Mohammad Shihab James in the very next over, changing the momentum of the match and helping Pakistan secure a famous win.

From the prism of results, Australia and Pakistan have done little wrong. Both sides remain undefeated in the competition and have overcome feisty opponents like England, New Zealand, and Bangladesh.

But their respective journeys to the knockout stage have been far from smooth. Both the teams had to overcome challenging phases of play in adverse circumstances, something that held especially true for Pakistan in their Super Six encounters.

While these jolts keep them battle-ready for the semi-final, it also makes them aware of the areas that need improvement.

Australia and Pakistan are blessed with top-notch pace attacks and also have crafty spinners in their lineups. To add to that, their top-order batters have shown great form.

With immense talent in their ranks and a propensity to play positive cricket, a must-win contest between these two line-ups has all the makings of a nail-biter. PTI KHS KHS SSC SSC