U-19 World Cup: India braces up for England in final hurdle

India will be looking to clinch its U-19 World Cup title when it meets England in the final on Saturday.

Published : Feb 04, 2022 13:51 IST , North Sound (Antigua)

Yash Dhull scored a run-a-ball 110 in the semifinals and will be looking for an encore.
Yash Dhull scored a run-a-ball 110 in the semifinals and will be looking for an encore.

Yash Dhull scored a run-a-ball 110 in the semifinals and will be looking for an encore.

The Indian team is high on confidence after having tided over an outbreak of COVID-19 within the squad and will aim to clinch its fifth U-19 World Cup title on Saturday. It was awaits England, which beat Afghanistan in a nip-and-tuck contest on Wednesday, in the final at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium here.

India has had a smooth run to the final despite captain Yash Dhull, vice-captain Shaik Rasheed, and others missed two of the three league fixtures due to COVID-19. Dhull has lived up to expectations in the three innings he has played so far, scoring a sublime ton in the semifinal against Australia . Rasheed, too, has shown his brilliance with the bat.

What makes India’s teenagers look the part is their unexpected maturity. The way Dhull and Rasheed batted after a poor start against Australia was a lesson in pacing the innings. Only a few out of the current lot are likely to graduate to the highest level in the years to follow but in the short term, a special performance on Saturday afternoon can land them a life-changing IPL deal at the upcoming mega auction.

While the batters have shone through with individual performances, the bowling department has fired in unison.

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The extra pace of Rajvardhan Hangargekar and the swing of left-armer Ravi Kumar have rattled top-order batters from the opposition, while the spin attack, led by Vicky Ostwal, has stifled the opposition in the middle overs. Ostwal is India’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament, with 12 scalps at 10.75.

Summing up the team’s confidence ahead of the final, Rasheed said: “We are a very good team. We are looking to win the finals.”

The U-19 stars are also getting to learn from the best. Virat Kohli, who went on to become a world beater after captaining India U-19 to the title in 2008, gave a pep talk to the class of 2022 on how to approach the high-pressure final.

England, on the other hand, as a good opportunity to break its U-19 World Cup title drought. It hasn’t won the tournament since 1998.

Like India, England remains unbeaten in the tournament. Captain Tom Prest has led from the front with 292 runs at an average of 73, while left-arm fast bowler Joshua Boyden has taken 13 wickets at an average of 9.53. India batters will also need to be wary of wrist spinner Rehan Ahmed who is tasked with providing breakthroughs in the middle overs.

Irrespective of the result in the final, though, the Indian boys have had their moment in the sun in the Caribbean.

  • India : Yash Dhull (c), Harnoor Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Siddarth Yadav, Aneeshwar Gautam, Manav Parakh, Kaushal Tambe, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Vicky Ostwal, Garv Sangwan, Dinesh Bana, Aaradhya Yadav, Raj Bawa, Vasu Vats, Ravi Kumar.
  • England : Tom Prest (c), George Bell, Joshua Boyden, Alex Horton, Rehan Ahmed, James Sales, George Thomas, Thomas Aspinwall, Nathan Barnwell, Jacob Bethell, James Coles, William Luxton, James Rew, Fateh Singh, Benjamin Cliff.
  • Match starts 6.30pm IST.
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