The Indian U-19 cricket team is once again making the Indian fans dream under the able guidance of Rahul Dravid in the ongoing ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup. The Indian youth team made it to their 4th final in the last 6 editions after making short work of arch rivals Pakistan in the semi finals at the Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
As usual, the high voltage match already had the spotlight on it with high stakes up for grabs. India won the toss and elected to bat first. The Indian openers Manjot Kalra(47 off 59) and skipper Prithvi Shaw(41 off 42) put up a solid foundation with an 89 run opening stand, before the latter was run out.
India’s star in the tournament so far, Shubman Gill came out at number 3. The Punjab batsman put up another batting performance worth a lot of accolades. The 19 year old scored a brilliant unbeaten 102 off 94 deliveries to steer India to a solid score of 272/9.
Wicket keeper Harvik Desai (20 off 34) and all-rounder Anukul Roy (33 off 45) gave strong support to the centurion in the middle overs. All rounder Shivam Mavi, who was recently bought by KKR in the IPL auction for a huge fee off 3 crores INR, scored a quick-fire 10 off 6 in the death.
Amongst the Pakistani bowlers, Arshad Iqbal picked up 3 for 51 in his 10 overs while Muhammad Musa spent 67 runs in 10 overs for his 4 scalps.
In response to the target put in front of them, Pakistan needed a good start to chase down India’s target. But returning Indian pacer Ishan Porel served huge blows to their hopes. The Bengal pacer was breathing fire with his deliveries picking up 4 of the top order batsmen. In no time the Pakistanis were reduced to 28/4 in 11.1 overs. Ishan had missed most part of India’s early matches after suffering a heel injury while bowling in the first match against Australia. After Ishan’s early exploits, which broke the spine of the Pakistan batting line up, spinners Shiva Singh and Riyan Parag picked up two each to reduce Mansoor Rana’s side to 48/8.
The 2-times champions were finally bundled out for a humiliating 69 handing the Boys in Blue a mammoth 203 run victory. Barring Rohail Nazir, Saad Khan and Muhammad Musa no other Pakistan batsmen managed to reach double figures.
The mightily impressive and supremely confident Indians will be locking horns with fellow 3-times champions Australia in Saturday’s final at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.
Photo by Visit Victoria