NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, Indian colts stormed into the final of the U-19 World Cup for the record seventh time by trouncing Australia in the semi-final. India have now reached the final for the fourth time on the trot.
Hit by COVID-19 at the start of the World Cup as captain Yash Dhull and Shaik Rasheed – two key players – had to miss two games, India showed that they have tremendous depth in its ranks.
Overall, this is the seventh time India have enetered the final of the U-19 World Cup. They have won the tournament 4 times – most by any team.
Opting to bat first on a surface which was slightly on the slower side, Captain Dhull cracked a splendid century, 110 off 110 balls, and with the able support from Rashid, who scored 94 off 108 balls, he propelled India to 290-5 in 50 overs. In the process, Dhull became the third Indian captain to smash a hundred in the tournament history after Virat Kohli (2008) and Unmukt Chand (2012).
Dhull might soon join the list of U-19 stars – Virat Kohli, Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, to name a few – who went to represent India at an international level.
Their 204-run stand for the 3rd wicket lifted India out of the doldrums at a time when they were reeling at 37-2 in 12.3 overs. While Dhull was particularly prolific behind square, Rasheed scored lion’s share of his runs in front of square. His cover drives fetched him a lot of runs and his straight six was arguably the best shot of the innings.
Both were helped in good measure by Australia’s slapdash fielding. Rasheed was dropped on 24, while Dhull was let off in a run-out chance when he was batting on 74.
India plundered 108 runs in the last 10 overs and took the sails out of Aussie bowlers.
Chasing a stiff target, Australia lost their in-form opener Teague Wyllie quickly as Ravi Kumar trapping him in front with a deadly in-dipper. Campbell Kellaway (30) and Corey Miller (38) stitchged up a 68-run stand for the second wicket but after they perished in quick succession, other Australian batsmen except Lachlan Shaw (51) couldn’t cope with formidable Indian bowlers.
Vicky Ostwal (3-42), Nishant Sindhu (2-25) and Ravi Kumar (2-37) cut a swathe through Australia’s batting and bundled them out for 194, as India registered a thumping win of 96 runs.
India, the four-time champions, will now face England in the final on Saturday looking to reinforce their supremacy.