U19 World Cup 2018: Final, IND v AUS, Review: India thump Australia to clinch the title
India became the first team to win the Under-19 World Cup four times, surpassing Australia.
Updated - Feb 4, 2018 1:16 pm
The 2018 ICC Under-19 World Cup has been a witness to some riveting encounters between the sixteen participants. Teams have fought tooth and nail to progress deep into the tournament. However, gradually sides got eliminated as the event went through the league stage and the knock-out phases. Nevertheless, after some exciting games, it all boiled down to the final showdown at Tauranga.
India and Australia locked horns in the final of the tournament at Mount Maunganui. Jason Sangha and Australia won the toss and had no hesitation whatsoever to bat first. Even Prithvi Shaw expressed his desire to have a crack at the Aussie bowlers. The decision was surprising as the conditions were overcast and the stadium was engulfed by a strong wind.
India storm back to clinch ascendancy
Nevertheless, teams prefer to put runs on the board in crunch games and strangle the opposition thereafter with the ball. The start looked ominous for the Indians as the opening stand of Max Byrant and Jack Edwards got Australia off to a flier. However, Ishan Porel nipped out Byrant to give India their first breakthrough. Edwards couldn’t last long either as he became Porel’s second victim.
Sangha perished soon as Kamlesh Nagarkoti added to the wickets column. Harvik Desai outstretched himself to pouch a stupendous catch to dismiss the Aussie skipper and subsequently, the Kangaroos were reduced to 59 runs for the loss of three wickets in the twelfth over. Australia needed someone to resurrect the innings and guide them to safer shores.
Merlo’s stern resistance
Jonathan Merlo hasn’t had a great run with the willow, however, the 19-year old Victorian rose to the occasion and notched a gutsy hand of 76 runs off 102 balls. His fifth wicket partnership of 75 runs with Param Uppal bailed the Aussies out of jail and restored sanity in their quest of reaching a respectable score. However, Anukul Roy enticed Uppal into playing a false stroke and broke the partnership.
Nevertheless, Merlo didn’t throw in the towel and ground hard to a 49-run stand with Nathan McSweeney. Meanwhile, he racked up his sixth half-century in Youth ODIs in just 60 balls. He was going from strength to strength and threatened to take the game away from India. However, McSweeney fell prey to spinner Shiva Singh, which triggered a batting collapse, much to the agony of the Aussies.
They lost their last six wickets for 33 runs and slumped to a below-par score of 216 all out with 16 balls remaining. Anukul Roy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi combined well to make further inroads into their lineup and as Australia capitulated alarmingly.
Shaw-Kalra blaze away
A target of 217 runs wasn’t intimidating by any stretch of the imagination. While Australia needed early wickets to keep themselves alive, India didn’t have an overly daunting task ahead of them. Nevertheless, India blazed away as Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra took the Australian attack by the scruff of the neck and never allowed them to settle into a rhythm.
Meanwhile, a spell of light drizzle halted play midway. However, the stoppage in play didn’t disturb India’s momentum as they treaded the aggressive route and outdrew everyone who stumbled on to their path. They played some delightful strokes and also didn’t shy away from taking the aerial route. Subsequently, they stitched a partnership of 71 runs off 69 balls.
Momentary joys for Australia, but Kalra shepherds India
Will Sutherland, son of Australian cricket CEO James Sutherland, castled Prithvi Shaw to re-ignite Australia’s hopes of a comeback. Shubman Gill has been in exemplary touch in the tournament and he joined Manjot Kalra after Shaw’s dismissal. Gil’s stupendous form showed right away as he creamed Lloyd Pope through the covers for a boundary.
Australia had no respite thereafter, as Gill’s flair and Kalra’s daredevil batting took the sting out of them. Kalra started his campaign with a half-century in India’s opening game and he replicated the same in the Final as he raced away to 50 runs off 47 balls, which included five boundaries and a couple of massive sixes downtown off Zak Evans and Lloyd Pope.
However, Param Uppal got rid of Gill as the ball ripped past the Fazilka-born batsman and cannoned into the stumps. Kalra, eventually notched his maiden century in the tournament in just 101 balls and rubbed off any chances of an Australian comeback.
Harvik Desai panned out to be the appropriate foil for Kalra and lent him support till the very end of the run-chase. Subsequently, they beat the Kangaroos by eight wickets in the Day/Night encounter. Meanwhile, they also became the first team to win the Under-19 World Cup four times, surpassing Australia.
Watch: U19 players celebrate victory
— Sonali Dhulap (@pillya) February 3, 2018
Australia 216 all out in 47.2 overs; Jonathan Merlo 76, Param Uppal 34; Anukul Roy 2/32, Ishan Porel 2/30
India 220/2 in 38.5 overs; Manjot Kalra 101*, Harvik Desai 47*; Param Uppal 1/38, Will Sutherland 1/36
India beat Australia by eight wickets
Player of the Match: Manjot Kalra
Player of the Tournament: Shubman Gill