Despite a poor run in the initial part of the tournament, India under-19 boys turned the tables on hosts Australia to win the quadrangular series in Townsville yesterday. Skipper Unmukt Chand’s unbeaten 112 helped the India colts beat the Aussies by seven wickets with 44 balls to spare in the final.
Put into bat, Australia scored 194 for nine in the allotted 50 overs, thanks to Meyrick Buchanan’s 59 and Sam Hain’s unbeaten 41 lower down the order. India’s medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma claimed four for 51.
India, in reply, achieved the target losing three wickets and with 7.2 overs still to go. Chand (112 not out in 127 balls; 9x4, 6x6) took India to victory. After finishing at the bottom in the group league, India peaked at the right time to beat England in the semi-final and then Australia in the final. Naturally, the team management was more than happy.
“It’s great satisfaction for the coaching staff to see them winning. If you look at each game, we have improved in every match and that is what you want as coaches,” fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar told MiD DAY.
Sridhar was ecstatic about Chand’s performance, particularly in the last two matches. “Our top order didn’t get runs in the preliminary matches. But Unmukt batted brilliantly in the semi-final and final. His 94 against England (semi-final) and the classy 112 not out against some quality bowling by Patrick Cummins showed his maturity,” the fielding coach said.
The most satisfying part for the Indian team was the way their bowlers kept India in hunt even as the batsmen scored below par totals. “The opening bowlers provided early breakthroughs on every occasion which allowed the spinners to choke the oppositions later in the game,” Sridhar said.Coach Bharat Arun felt this tour had a lot of positives. “Considering we will be playing our World Cup matches on same pitches, this tour has been extremely helpful ahead of the big event,” Arun said.