Vijay Zol (above) and Deepak Hooda helped India recover from an early flurry of wickets with an 87-run fifth wicket partnership   Photo Courtesy: Official website of ICC
Vijay Zol (above) and Deepak Hooda helped India recover from an early flurry of wickets with an 87-run fifth wicket partnership Photo Courtesy: Official website of ICC

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Dubai: Feb 22, 2014

 

The defending champions India could only muster 221 for eight in their 50 overs in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 quarter-final against England at Dubai. India lost their top order inside ten overs and had to depend on a rearguard action from the middle to get to their eventual score. Deepak Hooda’s 68 and a late surge by Sarfaraz Khan (52 not out) helped India get to a respectable total. But, would that be enough for them to beat England?

 

There was a delayed start at Dubai as a thick blanket of fog enveloped the city. As a result, the covers were on the pitch and the toss was delayed by about 40 minutes. With the sun just about peeking through the clouds, skipper Vijay Zol won the toss and chose to bat.

 

The England seamers were an inspired lot early on. Jake Winslade started off by dismissing Ankush Bains. The ball was a bit short and too close to his body to cut and instead, he got an edge through to the wicketkeeper. But, at the other end, Matthew Fisher bowled a bit fuller and reaped rich rewards.

 

Herwadkar edged one to the wicketkeeper and dangerman Sanju Samson was dismissed off the first ball as the ball pitched in the corridor of uncertainty and he edged it to slip. Fisher held that line and kept troubling the batsmen. Ricky Bhui was finally done in a few overs as he edged another one to slips. AT that stage, India were 26 for four, with over 40 overs to go.

 

That was when India decided to promote Deepak Hooda. The more exuberant Sarfaraz Khan was kept for later as Hooda’s more calm approach was the need of the hour. Both Zol and Hooda then played with much-needed caution. The boundaries dried up, but they needed to spend time in the middle.

 

As their partnership grew, there were a few chances that went begging. Zol hit one straight back once, and it hit the bowler before nearly carrying to the mid-on fielder. Once the spinners were on, India accelerated and pushed their scoring rate. Zol and Hooda found more boundaries with authoritative strokes.

 

Hooda did have a life as he tried to pull Ryan Higgins over mid-on, but Ed Bernard dropped what looked like an easy catch. The sun came into his eyeline and he grassed the chance at mid-on. Hooda then went onto complete his fifty.

 

Meanwhile, Zol was looking good for his half-century, but on 48, he pushed Sayer into the hands of cover. That brought an end to a good 87-run stand and it was again left to Sarfaraz.

 

In the company of Sarfaraz, Hooda looked more confident and with the slog-overs approaching, he was targeting the boundaries. Things were going decently well as India were 147 for five in the 40th over, when Sarfaraz and Hooda attempted a quick single. With the ball moving towards short mid-wicket, Hooda sprinted towards the striker’s end. Jack Tattersall ran in, grabbed the ball and threw it onto the stumps to find Hooda short.

 

Aamir Gani came in and was soon dismissed. But then, Kuldeep Yadav joined Sarfaraz when they decided to charge. He started things off by pulling Fisher for two boundaries through the leg-side.

 

Sarfaraz also found his touch going and the inside out shot over the covers showed that he is good form. Yadav played a nice handy innings of 16 off 18 balls as India made their way towards 200. Sarfaraz played some big shots to complete his half-century and take India to a good score. He is yet to be dismissed in this tournament so far.

 

England would now chase 222 to win the game.

 

Brief scores:

 

India Under-19 221 for 8 in 50 0vers (Vijay Zol 48, Deepak Hooda 68, Sarfaraz Khan 52*; Matthew Fisher 3 for 55, Rob Sayer 1 for 27) vs England Under-19.

 

Full Scorecard

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)