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February 2018
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India lift fourth U-19 World Cup trophy
 
(Mount Maunganui, Feb 3, 2018): India on Saturday lifted a record fourth U-19 World Cup trophy after an eight-wicket rout of Australia in the final, underlining their dominant run in the tournament and giving Rahul Dravid the biggest success of his coaching career

As it has been the case through out the tournament, India had all their bases covered with bowlers' bouncing backing to dismiss Australia for 216 from 183 for four at one stage

The highly-rated batting, barring a minor blip, completed the job with conviction as India chased down the modest target in 38.5 overs

Delhi-boy Manjot Kalra emerged as the man for big occasion, scoring a sublime 101 not out off 102 balls and anchoring the innings after the loss of skipper Prithvi Shaw and team's leading scorer in the tournament, Shubman Gil

With a fourth crown, India surpassed Australia in the race of most U-19 World Cup titles. Prior to the final, India and Australia were locked at three titles each

The team's performance was also a fitting tribute to coach Dravid, who finally got his hands on a World Cup trophy

Under Dravid, the side had finished runner-up in the 2016 edition in Bangladesh

India's previous title came in Australia six years ago when the Unmukt Chand-led team beat the hosts in the final

The Virat Kohli-led side was victorious in 2008 and Mohammed Kaif was captain when India triumphed way back in 2000

In the current edition, India were the overwhelming favourites and they played like one, dishing out dominant performances one after the other

The gulf between them and other teams was clearly evident. In the playing eleven of the final, India fielded five players with First-Class experience while Australia had just one in captain Jason Sangha

Having lost skipper Shaw (29) and Gill (31), Kalra displayed commendable calm and composure to see the team through

Harvik Desai (47 not out) provided the support Kalra needed after India were 131 for two in the 22nd over, needing another 86 for victory

Kalra, who had smashed a match-winning 86 against Australia in the tournament opener, was in devastating touch again

He hammered the spinners for huge sixes and showed his silken touch by beautifully driving the pacers through covers

In the end, he finished with eight fours and three sixes

It was only fitting that he reached the three figures in the last over of the final. Desai hit the winning boundary, sending the team members and the packed crowd into frenzy

Earlier, Jonathan Merlo made a solid 76 before the India's left-arm spin duo of Shiva Singh and Anukul Roy sprung into action, limiting Australia to 216

At 183 for four, Australia looked well on course to reach 250 in a high-pressure match until the Indian spinners engineered the collapse with the Sangha-led side losing its last six wickets for 33 runs

Australia, who had little hesitation in batting first, were guilty of not converting starts into big partnerships

Merlo and Param Uppal (34) were involved in a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket before the innings' top-scorer shared 49-runs with Nathan McSweeney (23) to set the platform for a competitive total

However, the momentum shifted hugely into India's favour when Shiva (2/36) set up Sweeney to have the batsman caught and bowled, leaving Australia at 183 for five

Earlier, India's leading wicket-taker in the event, Anukul Roy (2/32), had sent back Uppal in similar fashion as offered a simple catch back to the bowler while attempting to play against the spin

While Indian spinners delivered under pressure in the middle overs, the pacers were impressive again upfront and towards the end

Hitting through the line was not easy as the surface was on the slower side. The best example of that was the dismissal of openers Jack Edwards (28) and Max Bryant (14)

Pacer Ishan Porel (2/30) got rid of both the openers who punched a rising ball straight to cover

Kamlesh Nagarkoti (2/41), another find for India in the tournament, removed Australian captain Jason Sangha (13) that moved away just enough to take the edge to the wicket-keeper

Nagarkoti along with Shivam Mavi (1/46) also helped in polishing off the tail after Shiva's accurate throw from deep had Baxter Bolt run out on 13

Both teams went into the contest unchanged.(PTI)


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