India won a tight semi-final against New Zealand at the Under-19 World Cup after the Black Caps failed to chase down a modest target of 210 runs in the Under-19 World Cup.
Earlier, India’s middle-order frittered away the good start provided by the top half as the team posted a disappointing 209 for nine after being put into bat.
New Zealand managed to score 200 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 50 overs and despite a couple of decent partnerships in the lower middle order, could not up the run-rate when it was required.
Cam Fletcher was the top scorer with 53 runs. Opener Joe Carter also made a valuable contribution of 30 runs but India’s young bowling attack was too good to allow an easy run-chase.
Sandeep Sharma, Ravikant Singh and Harmeet Singh all took a couple of wickets but it was Baba Aparajith who got the important breakthrough. The spinner’s slower delivery foxed Robert O’Donnell as he scooped the ball right back to the bowler. With the O’Donnell and Fletcher partnership broken, New Zealand quickly toppled.
Opener Prashant Chopra was the top-scorer for the Indians with a patient 104-ball 52, followed by number three batsman Aparajith, who added 44 runs to the total.
Skipper Unmukt Chand also did his bit with 31 runs off 44 deliveries but the rest of the line-up let the team down against a disciplined bowling effort by the New Zealand team.
For the Kiwis, left-arm spinner Ben Horne was the top wicket-taker, picking up three for 23 in six overs, while medium pacer Matthew Quinn managed a couple of scalps.
It was a decent start to the proceedings for the Indians as Unmukt and Prashant put on 51 runs for the first wicket before the former made his way back after becoming medium pacer Connor Neynens’ only victim of the match. Unmukt’s knock included five hits to the fence.
Next man in, Aparajith took hardly any time to settle down and rotated the strike with ease. Aparajith and Prashant combined to add 81 runs before the latter departed, caught one-handed by Kiwi skipper Will Young at mid on off Ed Nuttall’s bowling.
Prashant struck five boundaries and a six during his innings. Aparajith departed a couple of overs later, his 61-ball innings ended by Indian-origin spinner Ish Sodhi.
India will now face Australia in the final on August 26th.
With input from Agencies