India made a giant step to retaining their under-19 World Cup title by dominating their semi-final, winning by 10 wickets.
India faced a traditional foe in the last four of this year’s World Cup on Tuesday in the form of Pakistan, with the two sides meeting at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
It was Pakistan who won the toss and chose to bat first, but India struck early, Divyansh Saxena catching Muhammad Huraira in the second over bowled by Sushant Mishra. Haider Ali and Muhammad Fahad Munir added 25, but then leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi had Munir caught by Atharva Ankolekar for a duck. Ali and the Pakistan captain Rohail Nazir put on 62 for the third wicket, but then Ali was dismissed for 56, Bishnoi supplying the catch to delivery by Yashasvi Jaiswal.
Then it was the turn of Nazir and Qasim Akram to combine until Akram was run out by Ankelokar for 9. Nazir and Muhammad Haris added 26, but then India took hold of proceedings. First Haris was caught by Saxena off Ankolekar for 21, and then Muhammad Irfan Khan was bowled by Kartik Tyagi. In the following over Muhammad Abbas Afridi was lbw to Bishnoi, before Nazir, was out, top-scoring with 62, caught by Tilak Verma off Mishra. Tahir Hussain was caught behind off Tyagi, and the innings was wrapped up when Aamir Ali Thaheem was caught by Siddhesh Veer, Mishra again the bowler.
Pakistan had been bowled out for 172 in the 44th over. Mishra took 3 for 28, Tyagi 2 for 32, and Bishnoi 2 for 46, whilst Ankolekar and Jaiswal took a wicket apiece.
Jaiswal and Saxena then proceeded to put on a masterclass of batting, sharing an unbeaten stand of 176, as India cruised to victory with more than 14 overs to spare. Jaiswal was the dominant partner, scoring 105 not off of 113 balls, his first century at this level, striking 4 sixes and 6 fours. His partner Saxena was content to play the anchor role, and he ended unbeaten on 59, scored off 99 balls, and featuring 6 fours.
None of the Pakistan bowlers will be in a hurry to revisit their figures from this match, with Afridi going for 50 from his 7 overs.
The result means that India’s under 19 side have not been beaten since experiencing defeat in the 2016 World Cup final.