New Zealand have bowed out of the running to be ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 champions after a 202 run loss to Afghanistan in their quarter-final at Hagley Oval.
Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat first, and their openers got them off to a strong start with a 100-run partnership brought up before the 20 over mark.
New Zealand had a couple of opportunities for wickets, but couldn’t capitalise until Sandeep Patel bowled Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 69 in the 21st over.
That dismissal halted Afghanistan’s momentum and New Zealand clawed their way back into the match when Felix Murray dismissed new batsman Ikram Ali Khil for 4.
Two more wickets fell and New Zealand had done well to peg Afghanistan back to 182-4 in the 38th over after the tourists were 117-0.
However, the pendulum swung back Afghanistan’s way when Azmatullah Omarzai came to the crease with just five overs to go in their innings.
The number eight batsman hit 10 boundaries, seven clearing the rope, off 23 balls to race to 66 alongside an unbeaten half century from Bahir Shah as the pair guided Afghanistan through to 309-6 from their 50 overs.
New Zealand were in great form with the bat during pool play, but Afghanistan were brimming with confidence and struck a telling blow when the dangerous Rachin Ravindra was run out for a duck in the second over.
Jakob Bhula was then dismissed for five by a beautiful wrong-un from Mujeeb Zadran, who then had captain Kaylum Boshier out bowled without score.
Finn Allen looked to be aggressive as he had done all tournament, but when he edged through to the keeper on 13 New Zealand were 20-4 with a big mountain to climb.
The pressure was on Katene Clarke and Dale Phillips to rebuild, and they did admirably to stem the flow of wickets and put the pressure back on Afghanistan.
The pair put on 66 runs until Phillips was trapped LBW for 31 by Qais Ahmed which was followed by Sandeep Patel’s dismissal two balls later to give Afghanistan the ascendancy. New Zealand finished all out for 107 with eight wickets coming from spin.
New Zealand will now play off for positions fifth to eighth, with a play-off semi-final against South Africa to be held at Hagley Oval on Saturday.