Mount Maunganui: History was made at the Bay Oval on Saturday as the Indian colts clinched their fourth U-19 title, courtesy a dominant win over Australia by eight wickets.
The win was set up by the Indian bowlers who bowled well in tandem and a Manjot Kalra century made things indeed special for Rahul Dravid’s boys, who have had a wonderful tournament.
Kalra through his unbeaten 101-run knock also became second Indian to hit a hundred (101*) in an U-19 final after Unmukt Chand’s 111* in 2012 against the same opponents.
What would satisfy Prithvi Shaw and co even more is the way they dominated the entire tournament and even the final, where the bowlers had put up a fiery display to skittle the Australians for 216 runs in the first innings.
Australia had won the toss and had opted to bat first. But the plan clearly didn’t work as Ishan Porel, who has had a terrific comeback from injury gave his team a good start, sending back openers Max Bryant (14) and Jack Edwards (28) with just 52 runs on the board.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti too got into the act as he scalped the big wicket of Australian skipper Jason Sangha, to reduce them to 59/3 in no time. But right-handed Jonathan Merlo fought his way to a gritty 76 from 102 balls to rescue the Australian ship.
Already having gained a momentum in the match, the Indians didn’t let it slip away as the pacers continued to dictate terms eventually bowling out Australia for just 216 in the all-important final. Useful contributions were also made by Param Uppal (34) and Nathan McSweeney (23).
Porel ended as the most successful bowler with figures of 2/30 while spinners Anukul Roy and Shiva Singh scalped two wickets each. Nagarkoti also took two wickets while Shivam Mavi had one scalp to his name. Courtesy this stupendous effort, the Indian bowling unit achieved a rare distinction of bowling out the opposition in all the games they have played so far.
Chasing a paltry total of 217 to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition, the Indians rather found it easy and knocked off the runs in just 38.2 overs. Skipper Prithvi Shaw and Kalra laid the base with a solid 71-run stand and although the Australians found an opening when the in-form Shubman Gill was sent back for just 31, Desai played an unbeaten 47-run knock and hit the winning runs to put an end to what has been a dominant tournament for them.
The left-handed Kalra was adjudged the Man of the Match for his fine hundred while Gill was named the Man of the Series for his brilliant run with the willow, ending the competition as the second-highest run-getter with 372 runs in five innings.
India U-19 220/2 in 38.2 overs (Manjot Kalra 101*, Harvik Desai 47*; Will Sutherland 1/36) beat Australia 216 all out in 47.2 overs (Jonathan Merlo 76, Param Uppal 34; Ishan Porel 2/30) by 8 wickets.