India defeated Afghanistan by four wickets in the U-19 Asia Cup semi-finals on Monday, thanks to a match-winning 65-run seventh-wicket stand between Raj Bawa and Kaushal Tambe (December 27)

When India was in trouble at 197 for six, Bawa (43 not out) and Tambe (35 not out) joined forces, but they remained calm and guided the ‘Boys in Blue’ to their required 260-run mark with 10 balls to spare.

This came after Harnoor Pannu (65) and his partner Angkrish Raghuvanshi (35) put on a solid opening stand of 104. The middle-order, on the other hand, crumbled, with skipper Yash Dull (26) and Nishant Sindhu (19) failing to convert starts. Bawa and Tambe were tasked with transporting the team back to their base.

With this victory, India moved into the second position in the group, behind Pakistan, who had won all of its matches. India will meet the victor of the match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which took place in the last group league match.

India would face the winner of the other group if they finished second. It was a game in which India got back on track. When Afghanistan was put in to bat at the ICC Academy Oval 2 here, Suliman Safi’s steady 73, combined with Ijaz Ahmad Ahmadzai’s scorching unbeaten 86 off 68 balls, pushed Afghanistan to a respectable 259 for 4.

Harnoor, who hit nine boundaries, and Angkrish got India off to a flying start as they raced to 44 for no loss in six overs, chasing 260. At the pitch, it was raining boundaries, with the two openers pounding the Afghan attack with ease.

After 12 overs, India was cruising at 74 for no loss. However, left-arm unorthodox spinner Noor Ahmad (4/43) trapped Raghuvanshi in the front as he broke the 104-run opening stand. India fell to 116/3 as Afghanistan cheaply dismissed Harnoor and Sheikh Rasheed (6). Then, with India reeling at 162/4, skipper Dhull and Sindhu tried to take the game deep, but Khalel snatched the game away from them by eliminating Sindhu.

After Ishaq stumped Dhull in the 36th over, Noor Ahmad grabbed his third, and India lost half its side for 183. After that, Noor trapped Aaradhya Yadav (12), leaving India at 197/6. Bawa and Tambe had a huge task before them, but they came together to form a match-winning partnership that propelled their team to the last four, with Tambe completing the game with a boundary.