New Delhi: Carrying the legacy of their domination at the Under-19 World Cups, India have once again booked their berth in the finale of the marquee tournament in junior cricket, despite the COVID-19 setback.
The Yash Dhull-led side registered a comprehensive 96-run win against Australia in the semifinal on Wednesday at the Coolidge Cricket Ground to set up a date with England in the World Cup final on Saturday.
Saturday’s clash will be India’s fourth consecutive ICC U-19 World Cup final, where they will play for a chance to win the title for the fifth time in the country’s history.
However, the journey hasn’t been easy for the Indian team in this edition as they were infected by the coronavirus and at one point even struggled to pick a fit eleven. Despite missing their key players for a couple of matches, the Indian team has come back fitter and stronger than before.
India showed how much depth they had as the players on the bench delivered impactful performances and the team is unbeaten till now in the tournament.
Opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi is the highest run-scorer for India in this tournament with 278 runs to his name at an excellent average of 55.60, including a best of 144 that came against Uganda in the group stage. On the other hand, left-arm orthodox spinner Vicky Ostwal is the highest wicket-taker for the team with 12 wickets to his name at an average of 10.75.
Ostwal registered his best figures of 5/28 against South Africa in their very first match of this competition.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Raj Angad Bawa has been the standout player for India in this tournament. He has amassed 217 runs in this competition, which includes a record-breaking knock of 162 not out against Uganda, and has also picked up four wickets at an average of 29.75.
A look at India’s journey to the final:
Match 1 vs South Africa
India were tested in their very first match of the tournament against South Africa. The Proteas got some early breakthroughs and India were off to a shaky start. But a good inning of 82 from skipper Yash Dhull and vital contributions from the middle and lower order got them to a competitive total of 232.
During the chase, Dewald Brevis threatened to take the match away from India but the young bowlers showed great heart and managed to bowl the Proteas out for 187. Left-arm orthodox spinner Vicky Ostwal registered a five-wicket haul, while seamer Raj Angad Bawa picked up four wickets.
Match 2 vs Ireland
In the match against Ireland, India made 307 runs with the help of crucial knocks from Harnoor Singh and Angrish Raghuvanshi as they both hit half-centuries. Ireland, in reply, crumbled to just 133 runs as India won by a huge margin of 174 runs.
Match 3 vs Uganda
In the clash against Uganda, Raj Bawa played a record-breaking inning of 162 runs. He broke Shikhar Dhawan’s record for the highest individual score by an Indian batter at the U-19 World Cup. As a result, the Indian team made a mammoth score of 405 runs. While chasing the target, Uganda were bowled out for just 79 runs as India won this game by a record margin of 326 runs.
Quarterfinal vs Bangladesh
India after winning the toss decided to bowl first against the Bangladesh side. Ravi Kumar’s brilliant three wickets left Bangladesh struggling and they were restricted to just 111 runs. In reply, India chased the total in just 30.5 overs and defeated Bangladesh by five wickets.
Semifinal vs Australia
In the semifinal, a phenomenal 204-run third-wicket partnership between Yash Dhull and Shaik Rasheed helped India to 290/5 in their 50 overs.
In reply, Australia never looked comfortable in the chase and were bowled out for a paltry 194, falling 96 runs short as seven wickets were taken by spin, with Vicky Ostwal the pick of the bowlers with 3/42.
(By AVINASH KR ATISH/IANS)