(By Raja Ibrar)Pakistan defeated England by three wickets in a low-scoring but thrilling semi-final at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday to reach their fifth Under-19 World Cup decider.
Man of the match Zafar Gohar and Amad Butt put on a 63-run unbeaten eighth-wicket partnership to steer Pakistan home.
Zafar, 37 not out, and Amad (26no) rescued Pakistan from a shaky 7-142 in pursuit of a 205-run target with five balls to spare.
Pakistan, winners in 2004 and 2006, had needed 36 from the last five overs, then 12 runs off 12 balls and finally four runs off the last over.
In Saturday’s final, they will face the winner of Wednesday’s second semi-final between Australia and South Africa.
England came agonising close to their first final since winning the title in 1998.
Zafar, who also played in the 2012 tournament in Townsville, hit three fours in a 53-ball innings while Amad, who scored the winning runs, struck two fours and a six in a 37-ball innings.
“I think some of the players played some bad shots. But I think Saud Shakeel controlled the innings well, and then Amad Butt and Zafar Gohar won us the game,” Pakistan captain Sami Aslam said.
“Zafar Gohar is a very good allrounder. We were always confident that he would win us the match. He played very sensibly and stayed till the end.”
England captain Will Rhodes said it was heartbreaking to lose.
“We came so close … But this is the way cricket goes and unfortunately it didn’t go our way today.
“Pakistan are tough opponents. We’ve played them numerous times, recently in England, and I wish them the very best of luck for the final.”
Rhodes had hit a well-constructed 76 not out and lifted his side to 7-204 after they had lost both openers to be 2-1 and then 6-119.