Kolkata, Nov 27 (IANS) A dominant batting performance by opener Rishabh Pant (118) backed by equally disciplined leg-spin bowling from Zeeshan Ansari (5/37) helped India beat Afghanistan by 104 runs in a U-19 cricket tri-series at the Jadavpur University ground here on Friday. India will face Bangladesh in the final on Sunday.
Afghanistan are now out of the competition after losing all their games. Chasing India’s total of 266/7, the highest in the tourney so far, the visitors were bowled out for 162 in 28 overs on Friday. The Indians were successful in picking up crucial wickets upfront. Captain Ihasanullah Jannat (13) and Naveed Obaid (63) tried resurrecting the innings but their partnership was short-lived as Jannat got run out. Afghanistan did not recover after the early jolts as the hosts kept on chipping on the wickets.
The only other praise worthy contribution from the bat came from Tariq Stanikzai who scored a brisk 26. Earlier, it was the tourists who won the toss and sent India in. Though the plan seemed to work at first with Ishan Kishan adjudged leg-before-wicket for a duck, it was Pant who stood like a solid rock for his side.
By the time the second wicket fell, Virat Singh (71) and Pant had already knit a partnership of 186 runs. The duo absolutely hammered the Afghanistan bowlers to all parts of the ground. Pant fell after the ton and Virat after a brilliant 71 but by then the damage was already done. Captain Ricky Bhui (50) contributed with a half century but then was castled by Muhammad Zahir.
There were a few wickets towards the end which helped Afghanistan restrict the home side for 266/7.
Brief scores: India (Rishabh Pant 118, Virat Singh 71; Muslim Musa 2/38) vs Afghanistan (Naveed Obaid 63, Tariq Stanikzai 26; Zeeshan Ansari 5/37)