Pakistan won the Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2004 after beating West Indies in a tight finish in the final on March 5 at Dhaka. The West Indians were always up against it after losing the toss and being asked to bat under the floodlights at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. But it took a nerveless performance from Pakistan’s spinners – in particular, off-spinner Tariq Mahmood, who finished with 3 for 34 – to seal the match with 17 balls to spare.
The day’s key performer, however, was Pakistan’s middle-order batsman Asif Iqbal, who scored the only half-century of the match and added 97 for the fifth wicket with Salman Qadir to transform his side’s fortunes after a shaky start. Asif Iqbal from Bahawalpur had, incidentally, played in none of Pakistan’s seven earlier matches! Pakistan’s day began strongly enough, but the introduction of the left-arm spinner Rishi Bachan turned the innings on its head.
In successive overs, Bachan removed both openers for the addition of three runs, as Pakistan slumped from 55 for none to 81 for four. However, from that moment on, Asif and Salman turned the innings around. They ran confidently and briskly between the wickets and limited themselves to just a handful of boundaries. Although Asif did splash out on one occasion as he smeared a six over the midwicket boundary, and swiftly followed up with another four to reach his half-century.
West Indies fought back in the closing overs of the innings, with Mervin Matthew deservedly collecting two late wickets after Asif had been run out by a direct hit from Bachan. But the last pair of Zulqarnain Haider and Ali Imran added 21 crucial runs in the final overs – including a swept four off the last ball – as Pakistan wrapped one hand firmly around the trophy.
West Indies needed a strong start if they were to have any chance, and that is precisely what Xavier Marshall and Tishan Maraj provided, as 59 runs were added in the first 10 overs. Asif Iqbal, in particular, was unafraid to hit the ball on the up. And had cracked sex fours in his 32, when he ran himself out to title. The balance Skipper Khalid Latif holds the trophy within back the background and will be on the right towards PAKISTAN Almost immediately.
Marshall behaved at Tariq and sent a massive top-edge spiraling to the keeper Zulqarnain Haider Lendl Simmons went cheaply, low to Jahangir Mirza’s googly for 5, and Assad Fudadin didn’t last long either, as he slapped a wild cut shot straight to Salman Qadir al point. But West Indies’ fifth-wicket pair repaired the innings Dinesh Ramdin and Jonathan Augustus scampered the singles and lifted the run rate, but their eagerness to take risks eventually proved their downfall, as Augustus was run out by a direct hit from the covers.
With Ravi Rampaul and Ramdin the hero of the semifinal victory over England – still at the crease, anything was possible. But the nerves got to West Indies and the run-outs started to stream in. Zulqarnain, Pakistan’s wicket-keeper, was particularly on the ball in the closing overs, plucking two big edges while standing up to the spinners, before beating Liam Sebastien with a scrum-half-like dive and throw to the non-striker’s end.
At one stage, West Indies were 197 for six, needing 34 from 38 halls for victory, but they lost their last four hats- men for just eight runs to prompt massive celebrations from the Pakistani camp. Sixteen teams took part in the tournament, including t 10 Test-playing countries and six Associate Member nations. The previous winners of the Under-19s World Cup competitions were England (1998), India (2000), and Australia (2002).
Australia failed to qualify even for the Super League stage this year. They did make the Plate Championship final, but host Bangladesh defeated them by eight runs in a thriller to relegate Australia to the runners-up spot. In the Super League semifinals, Pakistan beat arch-rivals India comfortably by five wickets while West Indies brushed aside England by a convincing 94-run margin. This was a memorable performance by Pakistan in Under-19s Cricket World Cup 2004. Several players hoping to play for Senior Pakistan Side.
Cricket format: Limited-overs (50 overs Side)
Player of the series: Shikhar Dhawan, India
Most runs: Shikhar Dhawan (505), India
Champion: Pakistan national under-19 cricket team
Most wickets: Enamul Haque (22 Wickets, Bangladesh)
Runners-up: West Indies
Check out complete information on the 2004 world cup on Wikipedia.