Mirpur: India Under-19 team’s quest for an unprecedented fourth World Cup title went up in smoke as the Rahul Dravid-coached colts were outplayed by the West Indies in the final here on Sunday.
The marauding Caribbeans soaked in the counter-punches and eventually romped home with five wickets in hand to clinch their maiden trophy and then the entire team broke into an impromptu jig.
Put in to bat by the Windies on a green top amid overcast conditions, the script went completely awry for the Indians, who were dismissed for 145 in 45.1 overs with Sarfaraz Khan’s 89-ball 51 being the only noteworthy contribution.
In reply, the West Indies won in 49.3 overs courtesy two mature knocks from Man of the Match Keacy Carty (52 not out) and Keemo Paul (40 not out) who steadied the ship after a mid-innings collapse and then guided their team home.
Chasing the modest target, the Caribbeans lost both their openers — Gifron Pope (3) and Tevin Imlach (15) — with just 28 runs on the board.
Skipper Shimron Hetmyer (23) and Carty then put together a 39-run third-wicket stand to steady the rocking boat.
However, left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar gave India the much-needed breakthrough when he got Hetmyer caught at long on by Armaan Jaffer.
Next man in was Shamar Springer, the West Indies’s most successful batsman of the tournament. But the right-hander could not make an impact and struggled for nine deliveries before an attempted slog sweep had him caught by Jaffer for 3, off Dagar again.
While wickets were tumbling around him, Carty kept his cool to plough on even though the scoring rate was painfully slow.
Proceedings livened up when Carty was joined by Paul. The 17-year-old Paul pushed hard for singles and it was his six off Dagar which broke the shackles for West Indies after a lengthy stretch of dot balls.
The 69-run stand between Carty and Paul made all the difference in the end as the unbeaten Indians finally found their match in the summit clash.
The Indian bowlers led by Dagar (3/25) were saddled with the tough task of defending a paltry total and they did a decent job for most part of the match but eventually it wasn’t enough.
Indian fielders were also guilty of spilling a few chances which could have tilted the match in their favour.
The Ishan Kishan-led Indians were looking to win their first World Cup since 2012.
Earlier, Indian batsmen faltered when it mattered the most as the three-time champions were bowled out for 145.
Sarfaraz was the lone exception as he saved India the embarrassment of being bowled out for a sub-100 total with a fifth fifty plus score in six innings, also making him only one to score most half centuries (7) in the history of the tournament.
The West Indies bowlers did well to exploit the conditions. Alzarri Joseph (3/39) ran through top order before Ryan John (3/38) landed crucial blows for his team.
Chemar Holder kept things tight to maintain pressure on the Indian batsmen, conceding only 20 runs in 10 overs with a timely wicket of Mahipal Lomror.
India, aiming for an unprecedented fourth title, lost their top three for 27 runs, all falling to Joseph. Rishabh Pant was stumped in an unusual manner with West Indian ’keeper Tevin Imlach showing presence of mind to fox the Indian opener, who was standing out of his crease while leaving an away going delivery.
Anmolpreet Singh, who scored a gritty fifty in the semifinals, edged a sharp one to the wicket-keeper. And soon after, captain Ishan Kishan was gone too, ending his disappointing run in the tournament where he ended with a solitary fifty in six innings.
However, he was out leg before wicket to a ball that appeared to pitch outside the leg-stump.
The fall of Armaan Jaffer made it 50 for five and after that began the innings repair exercise by Sarfaraz and Lomror (19 off 43), who added 37 runs for the sixth wicket.
India badly needed another decent partnership to put up a respectable total but that did not happen as Sarfaraz kept running out of partners until he missed a crossed batted shot to be caught plumb in front, leaving his team at 120 for eight.
His 89-ball effort comprised five fours and a six.
The tail did not contributed much but it was not expected to after an ordinary batting effort earlier in the innings. PTI