Their title defence off to a resounding start, four-time champions India would look to inch closer towards a quarterfinal spot when they take on debutants Japan in a Group A tie of the ICC U-19 World Cup here on Tuesday.
India cruised to a 90-run victory over Sri Lanka in their opening group league encounter here on Sunday, riding on an impressive batting performance which was topped by a disciplined bowling effort.
Japan, on the other hand, were lucky to have garnered a point after their first match against New Zealand was washed out in Potchefstroom on Saturday. India are atop Group A and a victory on Tuesday will virtually guarantee them a place in the last-eight round. India will play New Zealand in their last group match on January 24.
The Indians played like favourites on Sunday, excelling in all departments of the game to outclass their South Asian neighbours. Batting first, India scored a competitive 297 for 4, riding on half-centuries from their premier batsmen -- opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (59 off 74 balls) and skipper Priyam Garg (56 off 72 balls).
There were significant contributions from vice-captain Dhruv Jurel (52 off 48 balls) and late entrant all-rounder Siddhesh Veer (44 off 27 balls and 2/34 in 6 overs), which took the total close to the 300-run mark. The players then kept the Lankan batsmen under check with their bowling, dismissing them for 207 in 45.2 overs.
Left-arm pacer Akash Singh (2/29), Veer (2/34) and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/44), who will be seen donning Kings XI Punjab colours in the IPL, shared six wickets between them. Fast bowler Kartik Tyagi (1/27), who already has a multi-crore IPL contract, was the most impressive as he time and again breached the 140kmph mark, while Jaiswal too picked up a wicket.
And come Tuesday, the Indians are expected to steamroll an inexperienced Japan. If India bat first, they are expected to be pile up a mammoth total against the inexperienced Japanese attack. The Japanese are at the ICC U-19 World Cup to gather valuable experience by playing against top teams of the world and are not expected to pose any threat to the Indians. But the minnows would hope to make life difficult for the mighty Indians.
India U-19: Priyam Garg (Captain), Akash Singh, Atharva Ankolekar, Shubhang Hegde, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Dhruv Jurel, Kartik Tyagi, Kumar Kushagra, Sushant Mishra, Vidyadhar Patil, Ravi Bishnoi, Shashwat Rawat, Divyaansh Saxena, Tilak Varma, Siddhesh Veer, Divyansh Joshi.
Japan U-19: Marcus Thurgate (Captain), Tushar Chaturvedi, Maximillian Clements, Neel Date, Kento Dobell, Sora Ichiki, Ishaan Fartyal, Leon Mehlig, Masato Morita, Shu Noguchi, Yugandhar Retharekar, Debashish Sahoo, Reiji Suto, Kazumasa Takahashi, Ashley Thurgate.
(Image Courtesy: BCCI)