Come Sunday, Priyam Garg-led India will be ready to face an upbeat Bangladesh side in the final of the ICC U-19 World Cup, as they look to successfully defend the title which Prithvi Shaw and Co won two years back in 2018.
Both India and Bangladesh are unbeaten in the tournament, having won all of their group stage and knockout matches. India won all the three group games after which they eliminated Australia and Pakistan in the knockouts; Bangladesh defeated Zimbabwe and Scotland with their third match against Pakistan being abandoned due to rain. They thumped South Africa and New Zealand in the knockouts.
Ahead of the title clash, we look at India's road to final:
India trounce Sri Lanka in opening group match
Expectations were high from the Indian colts’ perspective coming into their opening match, and did perform to expectations against Sri Lanka. While Siddhesh Veer’s all-round performance was the highlight of the match, Yashasvi Jaiswal made an early impact with a well-scripted knock of 59 off 74 balls. He would then go onto score two more fifties and a century against arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-finals.
Sri Lanka won the toss and put India to bat. That did not work out well as Jaiswal and Divyaansh Saxena stitched a 66-run stand for the first wicket, thereby paving the way for a huge innings total for Priyam Garg’s men. Apart from Jaiswal, Garg (56) and Dhruv Jurel (52*) too notched up fifties while Veer remained unbeaten on 44 as India registered a total of 297-4.
In reply, Ravindu Rasantha(49) and Nipun Dananjaya (50) put up a good fight for the Lankans but the Indian bowlers were too strong for them. Veer finished with a spell of 2/34 from six overs while Jaiswal ended up as the most economical bowler with figures of 1/18 from three overs as the Lankans were bundled out for 207.
Brief scores: India 297/4 from 50 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 59, Priyam Garg 56, Dhruv Jurel 52*; Amshi de Silva 1/40) beat Sri Lanka 207 in 45.2 overs (Ravindu Rasantha 49, Nipun Dananjaya 50; Siddhesh Veer 2/34, Yashasvi Jaiswal 1/18).
India thump Japan in second group game
Japan were tournament debutants and India were expected to have it easy, but this encounter could have been easier than anyone expected. Japan were coming into this match after earning their first-ever point following an abandoned contest against New Zealand due to rain.
India won the toss and chose to bowl. And the bowlers made the job look easy thanks to some horrendous batting display from the Japanese batsmen. All batsmen were dismissed for single figures with five ducks among them. Shu Noguchi and Kento Dobell were the top-scorers for Japan with seven runs each. Ravi Bishnoi, with his leg-break bowling, was the protagonist in the destruction of the line-up ending with figures of 4/5 in just eight overs as the debutants folded for just 41 runs in 22.5 overs. He would later go onto win the Man of the Match award.
In the end, it was a walk in the park for the India as Jaiswal (29) and Kunal Kushagra (13) anchored a 10-wicket win in just 4.5 overs.
Brief scores: Japan 41 all out in 22.5 overs ( Shu Noguchi 7, Kento Dobell 7; Ravi Bishnoi 4/5) lost to India 42/0 in 4.5 overs. (Yashasvi Jaiswal 29*, Kunal Kushagra 13*).
India edge New Zealand via DLS method
It had just been a little more than two weeks since these two teams met in the Quadrangular series where Veer and Atharva Ankolekar’s heroics propelled India to a big win, and the result was not different this time either.
Rain played a huge part in reducing the contest to 23 overs, and although India only managed to post a total of 115-0 courtesy fifties from Jaiswal and Saxena, Bishnoi did the star turn once again with a second consecutive four-wicket haul as New Zealand, chasing a revised target of 192 from 23 overs, were bundled out for 147.
Ankolekar, though, enjoyed a similar run in this match as well, finishing with figures of 3/28.
Rhys Mariu was the top scorer for the Black Caps with 42 runs, while seven of the eleven players were seen off for single figures by a fiery Indian bowling attack. With the win, India also sealed top spot in their group, with New Zealand finishing second. India would go onto face Australia in the Super League quarter-finals.
Brief scores: India 115-0 after 23 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 57*, Divyaansh Saxena 52*) beat New Zealand 147 all out after 21 overs (Rhys Mariu 42: Ravi Bishnoi 4/30) via DLS method.
India beat Australia to reach semis
India-Australia rivalries are always a fiery affair. This, too, was no less as Australia won the toss and elected to field. Opening the innings, Yashasvi Jaiswal led from the front slamming six fours and two sixes on his way to 62 off 82 balls, and he was ably supported by Atharva Ankolekar’s unbeaten 55 as the defending champions scored 233-9 from 50 overs. Now, 233 may seem like a below par total, but the Indian bowlers responded strongly, with Kartik Tyagi running through the Aussie top-order to pick four wickets.
Akash Singh, too registered, impressive figures of 3-30 as the Aussies were bundled out for 159. Sam Fanning was the lone half-centurion for the Yellow Brigade, scoring 75 runs.
Brief scores: India 233-9 in 50 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 62, Atharva Ankolekar 55; Todd Murphy 2/40) beat Australia 159 all out (Sam Fanning 75; Kartik Tyagi 4/24).
India through to final after beating Pakistan
This was expected to be a crunch contest, but turned out to be a one-sided affair. Pakistan held a five-four win-loss advantage over India coming into this match. They won the toss and chose to bat.
Opener Haider Ali and Rohail Nazir scored half centuries in the top order. Their knocks took the team to 172. Sushant Mishra picked up three wickets, while Bishnoi continued his brilliant form with figures of 2/46.
Jaiswal played one of the best knocks of the tournament with a 113-ball 105, which consisted of eight fours and four sixes. His opening partner Saxena, meanwhile, scored 59 runs as India comfortably chased the total in 35.2 overs to set up a summit clash against Bangladesh.
Brief scores: Pakistan 172 all out (Haider Ali 56, Rohail Nazir 62; Sushant Mishra 3/28) lost to India 176-0 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 105*, Divyaansh Saxena 59*)
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The 31-year-old, who was released by Rajasthan Royals, was acquired by Delhi Capitals for Rs 2.2 crore at the IPL auctions last week.
Another source said that all the other players will undergo COVID-19 tests on Tuesday with the results coming by evening. Bihar has sent 22 players for testing.
Moody was appointed to the post on the recommendations by the Technical Advisory Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket after the recent poor showings against South Africa and England.