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Cricket: India enter the Under-19 World Cup final for the fourth time in a row

India have reached the final of an Under-19 World Cup for the fourth consecutive edition as Yash Dhull’s team delivered Australia a thumping 96-run defeat in the semi-final to set up a mouth-watering India vs England final on Saturday.

India have reached the final of an Under-19 World Cup for the fourth consecutive edition as Yash Dhull’s team delivered a thumping 96-run defeat to Australia in the semi-final to set up a blockbuster final against England on Saturday. Dhull led from the front with a blazing 110, supported brilliantly by his deputy Shaikh Rasheed (94) as together, they stitched a 204-run partnership which helped India recover from 37/2 to eventually post 290/5.

Once the batters did their job, it was turn for India’s bowlers to run Australia ragged. Vicky Ostwal continued his glorious run in the tournament, claiming 3/42, and along with Nishan Sindhu (2/25) rolled Australia over for 194 inside 42 overs. From 75/1, Australia crashed and burned to 125/7 before India completed the formality and reach their eighth overall Under-19 World Cup final.

The start wasn’t too promising though for India. After winning the toss and opting to bat, Australia bowled in a disciplined channel to not allow India any freeway. Opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi was bowled by William Salzmann and Jack Nisbet sent Harnoor Singh Pannu packing cheaply as well. But from there, Dhull and Rasheed produced the stuff of legends, first settling in and then accelerating with panache to lift the run-rate.

From 149/2 at the end of the 35th over, Dhull and Rasheed motored through the innings as India collected 141 runs in the last 15. Between over no. 13 and 28, the two batters had combined to hit just three fours before the India skipper began the onslaught.

Dhull and Rasheed took 64 and 78 balls respectively to reach their half-centuries. While the skipper was the accelerator to begin with, Rasheed changed gears and overtook his captain in terms of scoring quickly. Salzmann was hammered for three consecutive fours in the 41st over. Dhull, who had slowed down a little before reaching the 90s, cracked consecutive fours and ran a couple to complete his first Under-19 ton for India.

After the score was well past 200, Australia came back with wickets of Dhull and Rasheed but a late cameo from Dinesh Bana, who scored 20 off 4 balls hitting two fours and two sixes helped India collect 48 off the final 18 balls to set a target close to 300 for Australia.

With the ball, Ravi Kumar provided a dream start as he trapped the in-form Teague Willey. Campbell Kellaway and Corey Miller tried to rebuild with a partnership of 68 runs before Raghuvanshi broke the stand and Ostwal joined the party. The spinners made their presence felt as Australia’s collapse began.

Jack Sinflied and Tom Whitney couldn’t do much other than reduce the gap of defeat. Rajvardhan Hangargekar effected the run out of Whitney as the last Australian wicket fell, paving the road for an India vs England final on Saturday

It’s the fourth consecutive under-19 World Cup final that India would now be playing, and it’s a thumping testament to the kind of talent, the passion, and the junior cricket structure the BCCI have laid out. They’ve been at least a couple of shades better than the rest. So this was me, Vineet Anantharaman, scribbling it out in the company of Hari Sadanandan and our scorer, Mukesh Gowda. Until Saturday, where a just-as-inspired England await after their stunning win last night, ta ta!!

Cooper Connolly | Losing captain: Going into the last ten, we thought we were in a good position, but they scored 100 and thus 290 was a bridge too far. The experience was good but the only problem was the bubble. The way we played spin was good and we just got better with every session.

Yash Dhull | Winning captain | Player of the Match: The plan from me and Rasheed was to bat till the end, and it worked. It’s a proud moment (to be the third Indian captain to score a U19 WC ton after Virat Kohli and Unmukt Chand). The idea was to bat steadily, not to try too many shots, and to bat past the 40th over. Myself and Rasheed bat well together, we combine well and it showed. Rasheed and me had a good partnership and we had good partnerships lower down as well. The way in which the boys are playing is good. Rasheed is mentally very strong. We were in the bubble together and he is always mentally prepared.



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