India retains Under-19 Asia Cup title

Solid top-order batting by Himanshu Rana and Shubhman Gill, and some tight bowling towards the business end helped India clinch a 34-run victory over Sri Lanka in the final to retain the Under-19 Asia Cup title in Colombo.

File photo of Himanshu Rana, who top-scored for India in the final.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

India retained the Under-19 Asia Cup title with a tight victory over a resilient Sri Lanka in the final in Colombo. Opener Reven Kelly and Kamindu Mendis scored half-centuries to keep Sri Lanka well in the hunt for much of its chase of 274, but some tight bowling towards the business end of the innings led to a shift in the momentum.

Mendis, who scored 53, seemed to be shepherding the chase till the end, and when 100 runs were needed off 13 overs with seven wickets in hand, victory seemed a probability for the host. However, India's bowlers, led by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, stifled the batsmen and before long, the pressure of the constantly rising required run-rate caused wickets to fall.

Sri Lanka needed a set Mendis to stay at the crease till the end, but he, too, succumbed to the pressure, playing a reverse-sweep off left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma, India's captain, straight to backward point when the required run-rate had shot past nine per over. Sharma finished with four wickets in the match, while Chahar took three. Sri Lanka lost six wickets for 38 runs to be bowled out for 239 in the 49th over.

Himanshu continues good form

Earlier, Himanshu Rana (71) and Shubman Gill (70) put on an 88-run second wicket stand that helped India reach 273 for eight in the Under-19s Asia Cup final at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Rana's opening partner was out for 39 while Sharma chipped in with 29. Right-arm pacer Nipun Ransika and left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama shared six wickets between them.

India reached the final after winning all four matches while Sri Lanka lost to the former in the group stage.

Brief Scores

Final: India 277 for 8 in 50 overs (Himanshu 71, Shubhman 70; Jayawickrama 3 for 53) beat Sri Lanka 239 (Kelly 62, Mendis 53; Abhishek 4 for 37, Chahar 3 for 22) by 34 runs.

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