They say half the battle is won in the mind, and Indian colts did not wilt under pressure as they stamped their authority against arch-rivals Pakistan to clinch the Under-19 Asia Cup title on Saturday.
Vijay Zol, the Man of the Match on Saturday. PIC/Ian Hitchcock-ICC/Getty Images
After posting a mammoth 314-8 in 50 overs, India successfully restricted Pakistan to 274-9 to win the final by 40 runs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Interestingly, this was the first Indian team to play at the venue since 2000.
The trophy was shared between India and Pakistan after their scores were tied on 282 in Kuala Lumpur in the last edition of the tournament in 2012.
“It is always a high pressure situation whenever you play against Pakistan. And, the pressure only doubles if it’s a final.
There is already a lot of pressure on the boys from their family and friends back home. So, it was important to have a proper thought process. Clarity of thought increases your chances to succeed,” coach Bharat Arun told Sunday MiD DAY from Sharjah.
“We made them take the pressure head on. You cannot completely keep them away from pressure situations. They had to learn to deal with it. We encouraged them to make mistakes. But we ensured they do not repeat the same mistakes,” added the elated coach.
Put in, India got off to a good start, with Ankush Bains hitting a 34-ball 47, but were soon reduced to 85 for two.
Samson survived a couple of chances, but hitting the ball as hard as he does he’s going to get away with them more times than not at this level. Zol and Samson’s 100 partnership came with a soaring Zol six over
long on, it had taken 110 deliveries. The 150-partnership came off 146 balls.
Zol went on to a 100 off 120 balls with six fours and two sixes, aggression mixed with finesse, but was out next ball caught at long on. Samson went on to a 100 too, off 87 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. Samson fell straight after, caught at cover off a leading edge in the 45th over, the score on 286.
Coach Arun stressed it was a team effort. “If you see, the Pakistanis won a lot of individual awards. But ours was a collective effort. That is what helped us win the title. Our fielding was a huge bonus. India is easily the best fielding side now,” he said.
In reply, it was a fighting 89-ball 102 not out from Ghulam that helped Pakistan reach 274 for nine. Chasing a massive target, Pakistan faltered from the very beginning, losing Mohammad Umair (17), Imam-ul-Haq (18), Hasan Raza (1) and Saifullah Khan (3) cheaply and were reeling at 88 for four.
But opener Sami Aslam (87) played a sensible knock even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Leading from the front, skipper Aslam finally found able support in Ghulam and the two put on a solid 93-run stand and together for the fifth wicket to keep Pakistan’s chances alive.
Aamir Gani managed to break the dangerous partnership by dismissing Aslam, who struck 10 boundaries in his 96-ball innings. Ghulam, however, showed a lot of character as he continued to play aggressively, scoring at better than a run-a-ball. But, he kept running out of partners at the other end and it was a matter of time before Pakistan fell short by a huge margin.
Spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers with figures of three for 72, while Deepak Hooda (2-37), Gani 2-39) and Chama Milind (2-44) claimed two wickets each.
With inputs from agencies
A Bains st Saifullah Khan b Karamat Ali....47
A Herwadkar c Mohd Umair b Zia-ul-Haq..........12
V Zol c Zafar Gohar b Karamat Ali...................100
S Samson c Mohammad Umair b Zafar Gohar......100 S Khan run out.................5
D Hooda c Nisar Afridi
b Kamran Ghulam............13
R Bhui c sub (Nisar Afridi) b Zafar Gohar....................6
A Gani c Zafar Gohar
Kuldeep Yadav not out....2
Avesh Khan not out..........1
Extras (lb 4, w 17, nb 2) 23
Total (8 wkt; 50 ovs) 314
FoW: 1-65, 2-85, 3-265,
4-286, 5-286, 6-297,
Zia-ul-Haq 10-0-56-2 Salman Saeed 5.5-0-49-0 Zafar Gohar 10-0-52-2 Karamat Ali 10-0-78-2 Kamran Ghulam 10-0-46-1 Mohd Umair 4-0-29-0 Imam-ul-Haq 0.1-0-0-0
Sami Aslam c & b Gani...87 Mohammad Umair c & b Milind..............................17
Imam-ul-Haq c Khan
b Kuldeep Yadav..............18
Hasan Raza st Bains
Saifullah Khan lbw
b Kuldeep Yadav...............3
Kamran Ghulam not out 102
Saud Shakeel c Herwadkar b Kuldeep Yadav...............8
Zafar Gohar b Milind.......18 Karamat Ali c Khan
Zia-ul-Haq c Gani b Hooda 5
Salman Saeed not out.....0
Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 9, nb 1) 13
Total (9 wkts; 50 ovs) 274
FoW: 1-39, 2-77, 3-84,
4-88, 5-181, 6-211, 7-246, 8-249, 9-269.
C Milind 10-0-44-2
Avesh Khan 10-1-55-0
D Hooda 10-0-37-2 Kuldeep Yadav 10-0-72-3 A Gani 7-0-39-2
S Khan 3-0-24-0
Match result: India win
by 40 runs