UAE top-order batsman Jonathan Figy
UAE Under-19 top-order batsman Jonathan Figy. Image Credit: ICC

Dubai: The UAE Under-19 cricket team, who have been very impressive in the ongoing ICC U19 World Cup in South Africa, will take on Afghanistan in a crucial match at the North West University Oval ground in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.

The UAE, after their impressive wins over New Zealand and Japan in warm-up matches, scored an emphatic victory over Canada in their first match of their World Cup campaign.

UAE top-order batsman Jonathan Figy stole the thunder with an unbeaten 102 and skipper Aryan Lakra chipped in with 66 runs. In the warm-up tie against Japan, 15-year-old Kai Smith also hit an unbeaten 102, while opener Vriitya Aravind missed his century by two runs. The UAE are in Group D alongside hosts South Africa, Canada and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan got off to sensational start, defeating South Africa in their first match by seven wickets. A UAE win over Afghanistan will strengthen their chances of reaching the Super League.

Speaking to Gulf News from Potchefstroom, UAE skipper Lakra said: “It is a vital game against Afghanistan because a win can cement our spot in the Super League. In fact, the Super League is surely something we want to qualify for.”

Talking about the spirit in the team, Lakra said: “The team is in a really strong state of mind. Everyone is really excited to go on to the field again and give their best. Our recent performances have made us wanting more victories and wanting to create more upsets too.”

West Indies, who are in Group B, have been very impressive with their win over Australia and England. Nyeem Young, a right-handed batsman and pacer is the star of their victories with a knock of 61 against Australia and a stupendous all-round show with a spell of 5-45 and a knock of 68 against England.

Defending champions India have recorded two victories. In the first match against Sri Lanka they won by 90 runs while, in the second, they trounced Japan by 10 wickets after dismissing their rivals for a score of 41. Rajasthan leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi’s figures read 8-3-5-4.

In other matches, Pakistan bowled out Scotland for 75 and won by seven wickets, while Bangladesh defeated Zimbabwe by nine wickets. Bangladesh had also defeated Scotland by seven wickets. On Saturday, New Zealand and Japan shared a point each with rain washing out play at Potchefstroom. New Zealand were on 195-2 in 29 overs when rain stopped play. 
Australia defeated Nigeria by 10 wickets riding on a spell of 5-14 from Tanveer Singh Sangha. This leg-spinner, who has roots from Punjab in India is son of Joga Singh who drives a taxi in Sydney but encouraged his son to become a cricketer. Sangha also picked 4-30 against West Indies but his effort went in vain as West Indies won by three wickets.