Kalra’s ton helps Dravid & boys overwhelm Australia in Final & remain invincible throughout tournament.
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 throughout the tournament, India had all their bases covered with bowlers bouncing back to dis- miss 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 sub- lime 101 not out off 102 balls and anchoring the innings after the loss of captain Prithvi Shaw and team’s leading scorer in the tournament, Shubman Gil. With a fourth crown, India also 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 tide 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 Mohammad Kaif was captain when India triumphed way back in 2000. “Really proud of the boys and the effort they put in,” said Dravid as his boys continued with the on-field celebrations. “Hopefully it’s a memory they cherish for a long, long time, but hopefully not the lasting memory and they have many more great moments and bigger things in future. I don’t want to mention names but everyone in the support staff has put in a great effort. We do the best for the kids,” the Indian great added.
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 the First-Class experience while Australia had just one in captain Jason Sangha.”I really can’t express what I am feeling now,” said skipper Shaw.”All credit to our support staff, they’ve really been supporting us for the last two years, especially Rahul sir. He is a legend. And full credit to the guys as well. It was the final, a very crucial hundred from Manjot.”
On man of the series Gill and performance of other his teammates, Shaw added: “Gill was batting really well throughout. And the two pacers, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti were excellent too.” 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. The two shared 89 runs for the third wicket in what turned out to be a match-winning partnership. 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 Anukuj 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.
DIFFICULT TO EXPRESS MY FEELING IN WORDS
MOUNT MAUNGANUI: He understands the enormity of his side’s achievement but a reticent skipper Prithvi Shaw found it hard to express his emotions after India won their fourth Under-19 World Cup. At 18, like all teenagers, he was not expected to give loaded answers and underlined that it was “fun” which united this bunch of cricketers.
“There a lot of memories created. I can’t express, what I am feeling, right now. I am just happy” , was all he said when asked to pick a few memories having played his last match at this level in a befitting manner. “It feels really good. Winning this “World Cup, it means a lot to us, making India proud. We are enjoying ourselves whether we were batting or bowling,” he said. Asked what he was going through having achieved the target of winning the World Cup, Shaw said: “There were not many emotions. It was mazzak and masti (fun and frolic). We were waiting for this tournament. “We have played together for 1-2 years. As a captain, I have been backed. Whenever I was under pressure, the team backed me.”
HOPE BOYS HAVE MORE MEMORIES LIKE THIS: DRAVID
India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid is confident that World Cup triumph won’t just be “one memory” that would define this talented bunch of cricketers as a bigger and more challenging journey awaits them. “It’s a memory they’ll cherish for a long time and hopefully it’s not a memory that defines them and they will have a lot more bigger and better memories as they go on ahead in their careers,” coach Dravid said after India’s fourth ICC U-19 World Cup title.
Dravid spoke about the effort that the entire batch put on for the last 14 month, which bore fruit. “I am really proud of the boys, proud of the effort that they have put in and proud of the support staff as well. I think the effort we have put in over the last l-l months have been sensational. They really deserved this, couldn’t be really happier and proud for this bunch of boys,” the legendary batsman said.He was always aware that the since this was an U-19 team, the spotlight will always be on him but as usual he was magnanimous in praising the entire sup- port staff comprising of fielding coach Abhay Sharma, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey to name a few.”