• Sunday, March 03, 2024


U19 World Cup: India reach 5th straight final beating South Africa narrowly

The five-time champions were reeling at 32 for 4 when a 172-run partnership between captain Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas turned the game head on.

Jubilant India U19 players after taking a South Africa U19 wicket in the semi-final of the U19 World Cup 2024 in Benoni on February 6, 2024. (Picture: X account of BCCI secretary Jay Shah/@JayShah)

By: Shubham Ghosh

IN perhaps a lesson for the senior side that has often fallen short of expectations in the business end of International Cricket Council events after bossing the group stages, the India U19 team survived a top-order collapse and rode on masterful knocks from captain Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas to reach the final of the showpiece event with a nervy two-wicket win over hosts South Africa at Benoni on Tuesday (6).

It was India U19 team’s fifth successive final since 2016 and ninth overall.

After being reduced to 32 for 4 in the face of hostile opening bursts from South African quicks, Saharan and Dhas came together and steered the Indian innings with a match-turning 172-run partnership.

India will now take on the winner of the second semi-final between Australia and Pakistan in the title clash on February 11.

Chasing a modest target of 245 runs, the five-time world champions got off to a terrible start losing opener Adarsh Singh off the very first ball. Star batter Musheer Khan, who came into this match on the back of two centuries and fifty in the tournament, was also dismissed by Tristan Luus, with India reduced to 8/2 in 3.2 overs.

Luus continued his dominance over the Indian top order, removing Arshin Kulkarni (12) and Priyanshu Moliya (5). India sunk further to 32/4 in 11.2 overs and their scoring was stifled by a disciplined and hostile South African new-ball attack.

Saharan and Dhas then started the rebuilding phase for India, registering the big partnership for the fifth wicket which finally ended with Maphanka removing Dhas for 96 off 95 balls, with 11 fours and a six. India was 203/5 in 42.1 overs.

But India’s concerns were not over till they won the game.  With just one run needed, skipper Saharan was run out for 81 in 124 balls, with six fours. But they managed to chase down the total, with seven balls left.

Maphanka (3/32) and Luus (3/37) made India sweat and toil hard initially, but the five-time champions managed to turn the tide and secure another final.

Earlier, Lhuan-dre Pretorius, Richard Seletswane’s fighting knocks and a late 23-run cameo from Tristan Luus propelled South Africa to 244/7 in 50 overs after India won the toss and decided to bowl.

Pretorius scored the highest for the hosts with 76 runs off 102 while Seletswane played a stunning knock of 64 runs in 100 deliveries. Tristan Luus played a good cameo at the end to provide the final flourish.

For India, Raj Limbani was the chief destructor claiming a three-wicket haul while Musheer Khan bagged two.

In 2022, India won the crown for the fifth time beating England by six wickets in the West Indies.

(With ANI inputs)

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