Sarfaraz Khan shows India the way

Mumbai lad uses the sweep shot to great effect in his 74-run knock as U-19 champions India beat Pakistan by 40 runs

Dubai: Coming in at 94-4 and with Pakistan slowly choking India into submission, Mumbai boy Sarfaraz Khan swept and then innovated to score a brilliant 74 to take India to a 40-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the opening game of the Under-19 World Cup here on Saturday.

Sarfaraz Khan bats during the match against Pakistan at the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Pic/ICC
Sarfaraz Khan bats during the match against Pakistan at the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Pic/ICC 

It wasn't the most fluent start for Sarfaraz as he scratched around for 15 balls, not able to score a run. He was beaten a few times and received a lifeline when he was dropped on naught. The dropped chance proved to be pivotal and brought about a change in the youngster's mindset.

"I thought I would play straight down the ground initially, but once I was dropped, I had to adjust to the conditions and play my natural strokes. So I started employing the sweep," said Sarfaraz after the match.

It proved to be wise and innovative thinking and it certainly kick-started his innings. Six of his next 14 scoring shots were sweeps. The shot yielded Sarfaraz 15 runs and in a matter of a few overs he had raced to 26 in 39 balls.

"I realised the ball was turning and also keeping low, it was difficult to hit through the line, so I thought I would play my favourite stroke: the sweep shot. I have confidence in the shot and backed myself to play it."

Sarfaraz reached his 50 with a thumping pull that cleared the ropes and a few balls later he played a majestic cover drive that raced to the fence. He finally departed trying a slog on 74, but he had played his part. He shared a partnership of 119 with Sanju Samson which put India in control.

Just when one thought he had done enough with the bat, Sarfaraz showed his all-round capabilities by capturing a wicket and taking five catches as well. "I can bowl leg spin when a right hander is on strike and bowl off spin when left hander is batting," he said.

Sarfaraz admitted to having a few nerves ahead of the game, but from the evidence on the pitch, there is more to come from him.

Brief scores
India Under-19s 262 for 7 (Sarfaraz 74, Samson 68) beat Pakistan Under-19s 222 (Aslam 64*, Hooda 5-41) by 40 runs

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