On 2 March, 2008, India's U-19 boys locked horns with South Africans in the final game of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup. The tournament had always been extremely special for India, especially after the likes of Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh emerged from it and served Indian cricket for decades.
The 2008 edition, too, was going to be special, for India was going to get arguably the best batsman of this generation and a future captain from the tournament. But before we talk about the future that was to be, let's revisit what transpired on that special day.
India were playing under the captaincy of an aggressive Virat Kohli and were facing Wayne Parnell's South Africa in the final game at the Kuala Lumpur Cricket Stadium.
P.S.: Congratulations to the skipper on becoming the first cricketer to reach 1⃣0⃣0⃣M followers on Instagram 👌 pic.twitter.com/BTn2MoGRNr
— BCCI (@BCCI) March 2, 2021
Batting first, India were straightaway in trouble when captain Parnell sent Taruwar Kohli back to the pavilion. India's scorecard had three runs on it. By the end of the tenth over, the Indians had both the openers in the dressing room with 27 on the scoreboard.
Captain Kohli took the centre stage, gave Indian innings some stability before he perished in the 23rd over of the Indian innings after scoring 19. The trouble for India never ended after Kohli's wicket, but Tanmay Srivastava stood like a rock on one end. India lost wickets at regular intervals and were all-out at 159 in the 46th over. The South African captain led from the front, picking 2/21.
For India, Srivastava scored a brilliant 46, giving the team a fighting chance. While South Africa thought they stood a strong chance to lift the trophy, Indians, especially Ajitesh Argal and Pradeep Sangwan, had different plans. Argal was on fire sending — first Pieter Malan in the fourth over and then Rilee Rossouw on the last delivery of his next — packing. Sangwan, from the other end, too, maintained the pressure and the Africans were reduced to 11-3 following JJ Smuts's run out. That's when the rain intervened.
After the break, Parnell's men required 99 off 98 balls (D/L method), with seven wickets in hand. The match was still in the balance, but Indian bowlers were in no mood to let up. Jonathan Vandiar was the next to go after Jadeja got him caught behind. The fifth wicket took a while to come. Hendricks and captain Parnell added 50 for the fifth wicket in 57 balls, before the former mis-hit a waist-high full toss from Jadeja to fall for 35 off 43.
South Africa still needed 44 off five overs. Soon after, left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah was picked Roy Adams. Parnell, too, got out in the 25th over and his team fell short by 13 runs. In what was a low-scoring game, the drama and excitement were always at their peak.
Captain Kohli and his boys lifted the World Cup in a game largely dominated by Africans. The South African team had choked once again in an all-crucial encounter and lost the chance to lift the World Cup. Argal was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 2/7 in five overs that also included two maidens. While Virat Kohli today captains the Indian side in all formats, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is considered one of the best all-rounders in the business.
They beat Wayne Parnell's South Africa in the final by 12 runs on the DL method. pic.twitter.com/RC2BrPU81F
— ICC (@ICC) March 2, 2021
On Tuesday, the ICC, too, tweeted and reminded the Indian cricket fans of the historic day when Kohli and boys had accomplished something only a few could imagine of.
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