Hopes were high for the Indian Under-19 team led by Prithvi Shaw and coached by Rahul Dravid when it left for the World Cup.
Now, they are unbeaten and will play against Australia in the final.
India’s run to the final of the tournament has been stunning, with success coming from all quarters in what has been a very well-rounded performance. Leading the way with the bat are Shubman Gill (341 runs at 170.50) and Shaw (232 runs at 77.33), while the bowling stars are Anukul Roy (12 wickets), Shiva Mavi (8) and Kamlesh Nagarkoti (7).
Here’s a quick look at how Shaw’s team has made it this far.
1st match, v Australia, Mount Maunganui – Won by 100 runs
The tone for a successful campaign came with this massive win, which was shaped by the top order. Leading the way were Shaw, with 94 off 100 balls, and his opening partner Manjot Kalra, who made 86 off 99. The pair shared a stand of 180 to get India U-19s on course for 328/7, with Gill warming up for a massive role with 63 off 54 deliveries.
Down the order, Abhishek Sharma slammed an eight-baa 23 for some late fireworks. Australia’s young batsmen struggled against the pace of Mavi (3/45) and Nagarkoti (3/29) who were each clocked bowling upwards of 140kph. India bowled out Australia for 228 in 42.5 overs. Shaw was Player of the Match.
2nd match, v Papua New Guinea, Mount Maunganui – Won by 10 wickets
A thrashing. Put in to bat, PNG folded for 64 in 21.5 overs with spinner Anukul Roy leading the rout with 5/14 in 6.5 overs. Mavi struck two early blow to set the wobble in motion, and Roy did the rest. Chasing 65, India galloped home with Shaw scoring 57 off 39 balls and Manjot nine off nine.
3rd match, v Zimbabwe, Mount Maunganui – Won by 10 wickets
Another ten-wicket victory. Zimbabwe U-19s chose to bat and struggled against spin, with Roy taking 4/20 and Sharma 2/22. A target of 155 was never going to be a challenge for India’s batsmen, and Kalra (90* off 59 balls) and Harvik Desai (56* off 73 ball) completed a hat-trick of wins for India U-19s.
QF v Bangladesh, Queenstown – Won by 131 runs
Shaw (40), Gill (86) and Sharma (50) were the main contributors for India, who were bowled out for 265 in 49.2 overs. It proved more than enough, with Mavi (2/27), Nagarkoti (3/18) and Sharma (2/11) bowling India into the semi-finals.
SF v Pakistan, Christchurch – Won by 203 runs
Who saw this coming? Pakistan crashed to a lowly 69 in 29.3 overs, buried by the weight of Gill’s excellent unbeaten 102 from 94 balls. Shaw (41) and Kalra (47) began well, but it was Gill’s innings that lifted India to 272/9 and made the difference. Just two Pakistan U-19 players made it to double-digits as Ishan Porel (4/17) chipped the chase in the Powerplay. India won by 203 runs to set a date with Australia at the summit.
Originally Published In The Times Of India
News credit : Indiatimes