U19 World Cup : Pakistan steps into semi-finals after defeating South Africa

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KARACHI: Pakistan get ready to take on South Africa in their U19 World Cup quarter-final clash on Wednesday at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch and the star of the 2006 edition Anwar Ali has dubbed the Boys in Green as favourites.

Ali was declared man of the match in the 2006 final and he believes the team has momentum behind them.

“They have been playing positive cricket from the start of the tournament and they should keep doing the same thing,” he said, while talking to The Express Tribune. “I am sure they will be able to trouble a South African side that has not been very impressive so far. The Pakistan side is much more balanced and their bowlers and batsmen have better combination. I feel their strength lies in their bowling so they should focus on that.”

Ali revealed that the pressure of the tournament can often get to the young players. “There is a bit of pressure at this stage, especially once the knockouts come around,” he said. “The youngsters do get bogged down by the pressure due to their inexperience so the key is to stay as relaxed as you can while out there in the middle. The more relaxed your mind is, the easier it is for you to judge your opposition.”

The all-rounder believes the best way forward is to attack the opposition. “They should go into the match with controlled aggression,” he said. “Aggression is necessarily but if it controlled then it is even more potent. They should look to take wickets; if they manage to do so at the start of the innings then they can restrict South Africa to a low score.”

Ali has pinpointed fast-bowling sensation Shaheen Shah Afridi as the kid to look out for. “Shaheen has the potential to help Pakistan claim early wickets,” he said. “If they bowl within the wicket and hit the seam then the pitch will assist them. Shaheen as the ability to extract both pace and movement so he will be key in Pakistan’s bid to get early wickets.”

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