Raj Bawa and Kaushal Tambe stitched an unbroken 65-run partnership for the seventh wicket as India entered the semi-finals of the Under-19 Asia Cup tournament after registering a struggling four-wicket win over Afghanistan here on Monday.
Bawa (43 not out) and Tambe (35 not out) took charge as India was struggling at 197 for six but both played their part well as India set a target of 260 with 10 balls to limit.
Earlier, in-form opener Harnoor Pannu (65) and his partner Angkrish Raghuvanshi (35) gave the team a good start by adding 104 runs for the first wicket. In the middle order, however, captain Yash Dhull (26) and Nishant Sindhu (19) could not convert a good start into big scores after which Bawa and Tambe took charge. Afghanistan scored 259 for four after being invited to bat first with a patient 73 from Suliman Safi and a blistering 86 not out off 68 balls by Aijaz Ahmed Ahmedzai.
Chasing a challenging target, India got off to a good start and scored 44 runs in six overs for no loss. Harnoor and Raghuvanshi consistently brought the ball to the boundary line. Harnoor hit eight fours and Raghuvanshi hit six fours in his innings. Left-arm spinner Noor Ahmed (4 for 43) broke the partnership by dismissing Raghuvanshi's leg before. After this, Harnoor and Sheik Rashid (six) also returned to the pavilion, taking the score to 116 for three.
With this win, India came in second place in group A, behind Pakistan. The top team in Group B will be determined by the winner of Tuesday's match between the two. India finished second in their group, so they will play the first-place team in the second group in the semi-finals.
The winner of Tuesday's match between these two will decide the team that tops Group.