New Delhi: Manjot Kalra hit a majestic century when it mattered most, while bowlers also got the products when India defeated Australia for eight wickets to lift its fourth ICC U-19 World Cup title at Bay Oval. Mount Maunganui, Saturday.
Manjot remained unbeaten in 101 while being skillfully supported by Harvik Desai (47 *) when India crossed the finish line in just 38.5 overs. Delhi boy Manjot Kalra emerged as the man for the big occasion, scoring a sublime ton and anchoring the innings after the loss of skipper Prithvi Shaw and the team’s leading scorer in the tournament, Shubman Gil.
With a fourth crown, India overtook Australia in the race for most of the U-19 World Cup titles. Before the final, India and Australia had three titles each. The performance of the team was also a well-deserved tribute to coach Dravid, who finally got a trophy for the World Cup. Under Dravid, the team had finished second in the 2016 edition in Bangladesh.
The previous title of India came to Australia six years ago when the team led by Unmukt Chand beat the hosts in the final. The team led by Virat Kohli was victorious in 2008 and Mohammed Kaif was captain when India triumphed in 2000.
In the current edition, India were the overwhelming favorites and played as one, handing out dominant performances one after the other. The gulf between them and other teams was clearly evident. In the eleven games of the final, India sent five players with first-class experience, while Australia had one in captain Jason Sangha.
After losing Shaw (29) and Gill (31), Kalra showed a commendable calm and composure to see the team pass. Harvik Desai (47 not out) provided the support that Kalra needed after India won 131 for two in 22nd, needing another 86 for the victory.
Kalra, who had defeated a game 86 against Australia in the first match of the tournament, returned to have a devastating touch. He hit the propellers with huge sixes and showed his touch of silk by driving the pacers beautifully through the decks.
In the end, he finished with eight four and three sixes. It was logical that he reached all three figures in the last part of the final. Desai reached the winning limit, sending team members and the crowd into frenzy.
Before, the first possibility oscillated between India and Australia a few times, before India decisively took the impetus in the latest approvals. Australia was defeated by 216 in 47.2 overs, after Jonathan Merlo’s vital 102-ball 76 would have challenged India’s attack through the overs.
When asked about the field first, India seemed nervous in the early stages. Max Bryant was knocked down four times, certainly a difficult opportunity. Harvik Desai had butter fingers behind the stumps, dropped three opportunities in total, and there were a couple of skids that saw them grant unnecessary runs. All of which allowed Australia to have a good start in front of a crowd at the Bay Oval.
Bryant took advantage of his luck while Edwards made his way through the field, and after five overs, Australia had 32 on board, with the generally reliable Shivam Mavi conceding 12 runs in a final. Ishan Porel then got the breakthrough for India, Bryant attacked one directly to the point. The Indian pacemen took the window back to the game, with Porel getting Edwards sent off for 28 before Kamlesh Nagarkoti knocked down Jason Sangha (13). With Australia in 59/3, India was far ahead.
Merlo and Param Uppal then came together to revive the tickets. It was an excellent partnership while it lasted, the batmen made sure that the Indian spinners, Anukul Roy, Shiva Singh and Abhishek Sharma, did not ruin them. In fact, they kept the races flowing, threading the gaps and taking Prithvi Shaw, the Indian captain, to a slightly defensive field.
Uppal looked exceptionally comfortable against the spins, happily bursting on his back foot, playing late. Merlo was a study in contrast, which was based on unorthodox blows to deal with the spinning ball. However, he did it effectively, playing 14 sweeps and reverse sweeps that produced 22 runs. The association was eventually broken by Roy, who caused Uppal to wedge a straight lever with a square leg, forcing an incline towards the bowler. It was a crucial breakthrough.
Thereafter, Merlo assumed most of the scoring responsibilities, drawing his half a free century of 60 balls. He added 49 with Nathan McSweeney, who pushed a few and tolerated a pair of limits to score 23. Shiva made him jump back once more, and with Will Sutherland’s stay in the middle that lasted only eight installments, Australia was 191 / 6 in the 42 envelope.
Feeling a need to attack, Merlo decided to look for his shots, but a reverse rewind attempt found more height than distance: he hit a 102 with 72, but it was a great effort, and significant Australian support applauded him. warmly while walking inwards. India soon cut the tail.