With three out of three victories, defending champions India have been on a roll in the ongoing ICC Under 19 World Cup 2020. The India colts have comfortably beaten the likes of Sri Lanka, Japan and New Zealand in the group stages to send out a strong statement to the rest of the teams. As we progress to the knockout rounds of the showpiece event, India will begin his quest to extend their unbeaten run as they face Australia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Despite performing well in all departments of the game, India will be wary off the spin threat against Australia, who have had a mix tournament so far. Indian wrist spinner Ravi Bishnoi’s repertoire of skills will meet a match in Australian Tanveer Sangha’s variations in a face-off between two talented tweakers during the quarterfinal match.
The white-ball cricket in recent times has seen wrist spinners emerge as an important cog and junior cricket is no different where Bishnoi, easily the tournament’s most impactful bowler, would like to give his team the advantage over the Australian side.
With 10 wickets from three games and game-changing 4 for 30 against a gritty New Zealand side, Bishnoi has proved why Kings XI Punjab has invested Rs 2 crore on him during the auction.
Statistically, even Sangha has been at his best with 10 wickets with 5 for 14 against minnows Nigeria. But there’s been a four-wicket haul against the West Indies and a wicket to show against England for the player of Indian origin.
On Tuesday, both the wrist spinners will be key to their team’s chances and Australia will look to improve their dismal record against India at the junior level. In the last five U-19 encounters since 2013 (different teams have played though), India have won four with one game being abandoned due to rain.
As a team, India are way ahead of both in terms of quality as well as temperament with the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal (two half-centuries), his opening partner Divyansh Saxena and skipper Priyam Garg showing glimpses of their talent. In the bowling department, lanky UP boy Kartik Tyagi, who breaches the 140 kmph barrier quite regularly, and left-arm seamer Akash Singh, moving the white ball back into the right-handers, are a heady combination.
And there is left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar, who came back brilliantly against the Junior Black Caps despite being attacked early on. He got three crucial breakthroughs but a finger fracture in his right hand could be an impediment while fielding.
While Jaiswal, Garg, NT Tilak Verma and Saxena make India’s batting look strong, Australia skipper Mckenzie Harvey (nephew of former Australian all-rounder Ian Harvey) is a tough customer with the bat as he showed with an innings of 65 against England in their final group game.
Then there is Conor Sully, who bowls brisk medium pace and also has the ability to use the long handle to good effect.
India U19: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Divyansh Saxena, Tilak Varma, Priyam Garg (C), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Siddhesh Veer, Atharva Ankolekar, Ravi Bishnoi, Sushant Mishra, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Vidyadhar Patil, Shubhang Hegde, Shashwat Rawat, Kumar Kushagra.
Australia U19: Sam Fanning, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Mackenzie Harvey (C), Lachlan Hearne, Oliver Davies, Liam Scott, Patrick Rowe (wk), Tanveer Sangha, Connor Sully, Todd Murphy, Bradley Simpson, Liam Marshall, Corey Kelly, Matthew Willans, Cooper Connolly.