India starts favourite against Windies in final

In the current tournament, India sailed through the group stage with an all-win record against New Zealand, Nepal and Ireland, before crushing Namibia by 197 runs in the quarter-final and Sri Lanka by 97 runs in the semi-final.

Indian captain Ishant Kishan and West Indies captain Shimron Hetmyer display the ICC Under-19 World Cup.   -  ICC

With an unbeaten run in the tournament so far, the India Under-19 team takes on its West Indian counterpart in the ICC Under-19 World Cup final in Mirpur on Sunday. With a 15-match winning streak, the Rahul Dravid-coached boys are the favourites.

India last lost a match to England in the quarter-final of the previous edition in the United Arab Emirates two years ago. It has won 20 of its 21 one-day matches since January 2014.

In the current tournament, India sailed through the group stage with an all-win record against New Zealand, Nepal and Ireland, before crushing Namibia by 197 runs in the quarter-final and Sri Lanka by 97 runs in the semi-final.

However, West Indies has done enough to suggest it can go on to win its maiden title in the competition. The Shimron Hetmyer-led team has not looked back since its 61-run defeat to England in the opening match.

West Indies in good nick

The West Indies reserved its best for the knock-out rounds, first stunning Pakistan by five wickets before ending host Bangladesh’s dream with a thrilling three-wicket win in Thursday's semi-final.

  India’s batting will be led by Sarfaraz Khan, who has shored up the middle-order with four half-centuries in five matches to date. Explosive opener Rishabh Pant followed an 18-ball half-century against Nepal with 111 off 96 balls against Namibia.

Seamers Avesh Khan, Khaleel Ahmed and Rahul Batham have consistently rattled the top-order, setting the stage for the spin duo of Mayank Dagar and Mahipal Lomror to take over.

A confident India

“We are set for tomorrow,” said India captain Ishan Kishan. “There is obviously tension before every match and this is the World Cup final. We have reached our goal, now we need to achieve that goal.

“The West Indies too has been playing well. It will be a good game. We just need to follow our plans. We can't think too far ahead.”

Kishan revealed India’s strategy against the confident West Indies pace attack.

“We are not worried about facing any bowler,” he said. “The plan is to keep wickets in hand. If we do that we can get a big score on the board. 280 should be a good score, we will try for 300.”

Not overawed

However, Hetmyer said that the West Indies was not overawed by India’s unbeaten run in the tournament.

“In the semi-finals we played Bangladesh, which had also not lost a match, and we won that game. So I don’t think it matters what happened in the past,” he said.

“India is obviously a good team and we are excited about playing the final. It is a good feeling to have reached the final. We have come a long way in the last few months.

“We have turned into a very good unit. We have a very good bunch of cricketers with us. The journey has been good. We just need to keep it simple and play our best cricket in the final.

“We will give it our best shot. Win or lose, the players will benefit immensely by the experience of taking part in the tournament.”

Squads:

India: Ishan Kishan (capt.), Rishabh Pant, Khaleel Ahmed, Zeeshan Ansari, Rahul Batham, Ricky Bhui, Mayank Dagar, Armaan Jaffer, Sarfaraz Khan, Amandeep Khare, Avesh Khan, Mahipal Lomror, Shubham Mavi, Anmolpreet Singh and Washington Sundar.

West Indies: Shimron Hetmyer (capt.), Shahid Crooks, Keacy Carty, Michael Frew, Jyd Goolie, Chemar Holder, Tevin Imlach, Alzarri Joseph, Ryan John, Kirstan Kallicharan, Gidron Pope, Keemo Paul, Odean Smith, Shamar Springer and Emmanuel Stewart.

On-field Umpires: Ruchira Palliyaguruge and Robert Bailey

Third Umpire: Mick Martel

Fourth Umpire: Adrian Holdstock

Match referee: Andy Pycroft