NPL Sports, 30th Jan: An all-round performance by India saw them beat traditional rivals Pakistan by a huge margin of 203 runs in the semifinal of ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday to enter the final of the tournament for a record sixth time.
Set a challenging target of 273 by India , Pakistan lost the race as soon as their chase commenced. Pakistan crashed to 69 in 29.3 overs, their lowest total in the U19 World Cup history. Their previous worst was 70, against England in 1988.
None of the Pakistani batsmen could settle as first the Indian pacers and later on the spinners maintained a good line and length to decimate their batting lineup. The Indian fielded brilliantly unlike their rivals who dropped a couple of catches and missed several run out opportunities.
India will face Australia for the U19 World Cup title on Saturday at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Interestingly, both India and Australia have won the U19 World Cup thrice.
Opting to bat first, India posted 272/9 in their allotted 50 overs. It was Shubman Gill’s unbeaten 102 that set the tone for India. The right-hander fittingly became the first batsman for India to score a century in this edition of the World Cup.
Gill, who already had scored three half-centuries, bettered his record with a prolific century. After a decent opening partnership of 89 runs between skipper Prithvi Shaw (41) and Manjot Kalra (47) India lost their way and were reduced to 166/5.
Gill not only kept one end tied but scored at a healthy pace. He was associated in a couple of half-century stands. First, the right-hander added 54 for the third wicket with Harvik Desai (20) and then shared 67-run stand for the fifth wicket with Anukul Roy (33). Gill eventually crossed the three-figure mark in the last over to power his side to a defendable total.
In response, Pakistan suffered a batting collapse early on in the innings and never recovered from it. It was right-arm medium pacer Ishan Porel who dented Pakistan upfront with regular wickets.
The 19-year-old bowler picked all first four Pakistan wickets to fell. Combined with some great fielding, Pakistan were eventually bundled for just 69 runs and thus faced their heaviest defeat in terms of runs in a U19 World Cup match.
For India, Porel returned with impressive figures of 4/17 in six over while spinners Shiva Singh and Riyan Parag chipped in with two wickets each. Roy and Abhishek Sharma also scalped a wicket apiece.