India beats Sri Lanka to reach U-19 World Cup final

The three-time champion will take on either West Indies or host Bangladesh in the final to be played on February 14.

Anmolpreet Singh, who won the Man of the Match award, in action against Sri Lanka.   -  Getty Images

Three-time champion India continued its invincible run to enter the ICC Under-19 World Cup final for a fifth time with an emphatic 97-run win over Sri Lanka in the semi-finals here today.

India did well to reach 267 for the loss of nine wickets after a shaky start before putting up an impressive show with the ball to dismiss Sri Lanka for 170 in 42.4 overs.

For India, the batting stars were Anmolpreet Singh (72 off 92) and Sarfaraz Khan (59 off 71), who posted his fourth 50-plus score in five innings. India will take on either West Indies or host Bangladesh in the final to be played on February 14.

Put in to bat on an overcast morning, India was under pressure right away with its formidable opening pair, Rishabh Pant and captain Ishan Kishan, falling cheaply with the total on 27 in the 10th over. Batting was not easy, but Anmolpreet and the in-form Sarfaraz steadied the innings with a 96-run stand off 126 balls for the third wicket.

While Anmolpreet's knock was gritty, power-hitter Sarfaraz played a measured innings considering the circumstances. The 18-year-old IPL recruit, who came into the match with scores of 76, 21 not out, 74, 74, still managed to pierce the field for six fours and a six.

Anmolpreet, who struck half a dozen fours and a six, put together another handy 70-run partnership with Washington Sundar (43 off 45) after Sarfaraz's departure.

India needed to push its scoring rate in the last 10 overs, and the late burst came courtesy Sundar and Armaan Jaffer, who smashed 29 off 16 balls before Mayank Dagar's 17-run cameo off 10 balls took the team to a competitive total.

The Indian bowlers did not allow the Lankan chase to take off. Though the fielders missed quite a few chances, the bowlers were still good enough to keep things under control for India. Dagar did his bit with the ball as well, grabbing three for 21 in 5.4 overs with his left-arm spin.

Pacer Avesh Khan, India's leading wicket-taker in the tournament, struck in the very first over, dismissing Avishka Fernando leg before wicket even though the ball appeared to be drifting down the leg side. Soon after, the run out of Kaveen Bandara made it 13 for two in the fourth over.

The chase was not a huge one, but the Sri Lankan batsmen failed to rotate the strike, and with wickets falling at regular intervals, the asking rate kept going up. Sri Lanka's hopes of reaching their second ever final were all but over when the scoreboard read 133 for six in the 35th over. Kamindu Mendis (39) and Shammu Ashan (38) got starts but failed to get big scores.

Anmolpreet was adjudged the Man of the Match for his batting.

Brief scores:

India 267 for nine (Anmolpreet Singh 72, Sarfaraz Khan 59; Asitha Fernando four for 43) beat Sri Lanka (Kaminu Mendis 39; Mayank Dagar three for 21) by 97 runs.

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