New Delhi: India lifted ICC U19 World Cup trophy for the record fourth time after defeating Australia in the final by eight wickets at the Bay Oval in Tauranga. This is India’s fourth Under-19 World Cup title and with it becomes the most successful side in the tournament’s history. Chasing a paltry total of 217, India were powered by opener Manjot Kalra’s unbeaten 101.Also Read - Rahul Dravid Replacing Ravi Shastri as Team India Head Coach Was 'On The Cards', Reckons Ex-Pakistan Cricketer Salman Butt
India’s chase got off to a decent start with openers Prithvi Shaw and Kalra playing some confident shots early on. However, heavens opened up and the play was stopped. Fortunately, the rain eased out soon and no overs were lost. Also Read - BCCI Officially Invites Job Applications For Team India Head Coach
India once again began their chase in a positive way with openers going past the fifty-run stand. It was left-handed batsman Kalra who played some breathtaking shots at will that kept India going. Also Read - How Rahul Dravid Eventually Got Convinced by BCCI to Apply For Team India Head Coach Position
Australia finally broke the opening stand with Will Sutherland cleaning up Indian captain Shaw (29). The openers added 71 runs in 11.4 overs.
It was then the duo of Kalra and in-form batsman Shubman who further dented Australia with a half-century stand. For the second wicket, the duo shared 70 runs.
With India going along nicely, Param Uppal struck to remove Shubman (31). The breakthrough did bring in some hope for the young Australians as they showed some intensity in the field. However, it was short lived thanks to another fifty-run stand by the Indian batsmen.
This time Kalra was involved in an impressive stand with the wicket-keeper batsman Harvik Desai as India zeroed in on the target.
The Rahul Dravid coached side eventually completed the target in 38.5 overs with the partnership between Kalra and Desai (41 not out) worth unbeaten 89.
Earlier, after winning the toss Australia were bowled out for 216 runs. Jonathan Merlo made a solid 76 before the India’s left-arm spin duo of Shiva Singh and Anukul Roy sprung into action. At 183 for four, Australia looked well on course to reach 250 in a high-pressure match until the Indian spinners engineered the collapse with the Jason Sangha-led side losing its last six wickets for 33 runs.
Australia were guilty of not converting starts into big partnerships. Merlo and Param Uppal (34) were involved in a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket before the innings’ top-scorer shared 49-runs with Nathan McSweeney (23) to set the platform for a competitive total.
However, the momentum shifted hugely into India’s favour when Shiva (2/36) set up Sweeney to have the batsman caught and bowled, leaving Australia at 183 for five.
India’s leading wicket-taker Roy (2/32) had earlier sent back Uppal in the similar fashion as the batsman offered a simple catch back to the bowler while attempting to play against the spin.
While Indian spinners delivered under pressure in the middle overs, the pacers were impressive again upfront and towards the end.
Hitting through the line was not easy as the surface was on the slower side. The best example of that was the dismissal of openers Jack Edwards (28) and Max Bryant (14).
Pacer Ishan Porel (2/30) got rid of both the openers who punched a rising ball straight to cover. Kamlesh Nagarkoti (2/41), another find for India in the tournament, removed Australian captain Jason Sangha (13) that moved away just enough to take the edge to the wicket-keeper.
Nagarkoti along with Shivam Mavi (1/46) also helped in polishing off the tail after Shiva’s accurate throw from deep had Baxter Bolt run out on 13.
Following this win, India stayed unbeaten in the tournament. The Shaw-led side played six matches and apparently emerged victorious in all their fixtures.
(With PTI inputs)