Whangarei: Afghanistan’s five-wicket win over fellow South Asians Pakistan and New Zealand’s eight-wicket thrashing of defending champions West Indies were the highlights of the opening day of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup on Saturday.

Opting to bat, Pakistan suffered early setbacks when Afghanistan captain Naveen-ul-Haq struck with the new ball to reduce the two-time champions to 23/2 in the Group D match here.

Opener Rohail Nazir and Ali Zaryab put together a third-wicket partnership of 88 runs in an attempt to bring the Pakistan innings back on track.

Nazir scored 81 runs off 105 balls while Zaryab notched up 30 off 58 deliveries. But once the duo were dismissed, the other Pakistan batsmen could not consolidate on the stand.

Medium pacer Azmatulllah Omarzai and spinner Qais Ahmad grabbed three wickets each as Afghanistan showed that they are capable of upsetting leading sides and the team to watch out for in Group D, which also contains Sri Lanka and Ireland.

“They bowled and…

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