U-19 World Cup: Unbeaten Prithvi Shaw's boys dish out yet another dominating show
Unbeaten Prithvi's boys dish out yet another dominating show to crush Australia in the final as India lift record fourth U-19 World Cup
Indian players pose with the World Cup after winning the under-19 final against Australia in Mount Maunganui on Saturday. PIC/ICC
India romped to an eight-wicket win over Australia on Saturday to claim their fourth under-19 World Cup title in front of a jovial bunch of spectators who had driven 300km from Auckland. For those spectators and the rest of the Indian supporters, it was a treat to watch opener Manjot Kalra get his name into the history books with a glorious unbeaten innings of 101 from 102 balls, thereby emulating Unmukt Chand's effort in the 2012 final against the same opponents in Townsville, Australia.
This victory in New Zealand comes as a welcome relief to those Indian cricket followers who were left disappointed last year by Virat Kohli & Co's loss at the ICC Champions Trophy final to Pakistan in June. The following month, the women's team endured a narrow loss to England in their ICC World Cup final at Lord's.
Kalra's dominance summed up India's invincibility during the tournament in which they managed to remain undefeated.
While the victory margin was significant, India started off rather anxiously. After losing the toss on a good pitch, the bowlers erred in line and length. The fielders fumbled too and catches that were pouched earlier in the tournament seemed to be out of reach this time. Australia raced to 32 for no loss in the fifth over, before Ishan Porel made the breakthrough by forcing Max Bryant slash one to Abhishek Sharma at covers. That wicket seemed to break the shackles.
The nerves that were present had evaporated and the bowlers found their lengths as fielders snared their catches. As a result, Australia stumbled to 59 for three in 12 overs. For the next hour, Australia seemed to wrest back the initiative with Param Uppal and John Merlo adding a stubborn 75-run stand. At one stage, the Australians looked well set for a final surge that could propel the score in excess of 250. But thanks to left-arm spinner Shiva Singh and pacer Nagarkoti, Australia stumbled, lost their last five wickets for 33 runs in 47 balls and were all out for 216.
Chasing a well below-par target on a beautiful batting wicket, openers Prithvi Shaw and Kalra cut loose against some pedestrian Australian bowling. There were some flowing drives and delightful punches on both sides of the wicket as the pair added 71. The opening burst calmed the nerves. Slowly, one by one, each member of the team came out of the dressing room to watch India's march to victory. Of course, there were a few slip-ups along the way.
Shaw was bowled for 29 and Gill perished for 31, but Kalra continued to smash the Australian bowlers into oblivion. Harvik Desai and Kalra ensured there were no further bumps on the road as they put on 89 for the third wicket to guide India to a magnificent win.
WITH GREAT TEAM WORK, BIG DREAMS WORK. Congratulations to our WORLD CHAMPIONS!! We are proud of you. A big congratulations to Rahul and Paras for their guidance. #ICCU19CWC #INDvAUS
What a win for the U19 boys, take it as a stepping stone; Long long way to go! Enjoy the moment! @BCCI #U19CWC
Great work by the U-19 team to remain undefeated in the World Cup. Truly deserving winners. Your work has just begun, enjoy this moment! A special shoutout to #RahulDravid who has continuously worked hard behind the scenes to help this team achieve its true potential. #ICCU19CWC
Congratulations to the entire unit for lifting the #U19WorldCup. Very dominant throughout the series.
A big congratulations to the young guns of Indian cricket on winning the under19 Cricket World Cup !! #U19CWC
Virender Sehwag @virendersehwag:
Every Indian is delighted, all credit to Rahul Dravid for committing himself to these young kids ,and a legend like him deserves to lay his hands on the WC. Only Fitting.
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