India’s U19 cricket team have reached the promised land.
Amid the scenic Mount Maunganui in New Zealand, the young Indian cricket team have won the U19 Cricket World Cup for a record fourth time on Saturday. The boys brushed aside Australia by eight wickets in the U19 final thanks to a blistering century by opener Manjot Kalra and some disciplined bowling in the first innings.
Entering the tournament as favourites, the boys in blue delivered to their potential exceptionally after having a comfortable unbeaten run on the road to the final. Indian batsman Shubman Gill and bowlers Mavi and Nagarkoti particularly had an incredible tournament to help India reach the summit in the tournament.
BCCI has announced a cash reward of Rs. 50 lakhs for coach Rahul Dravid while the U19 cricket team members will get Rs. 30 lakh each. The support staff of the team will receive Rs. 20 Lakhs for their efforts in the tournament.
Earlier in the day, Indian spinners Anukul and Shiva restricted the Australian batting to lowly 216 who at one point looked like they were on their way to a big score. 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 Jason 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.
Coach Rahul Dravid would be particularly happy with the Indian side who displayed an all-round performance throughout the tournament whether it be batting, bowling or fielding. The Indian pace bowling which received a lot of praise throughout the tournament were instrumental in demolishing Pakistan in the Semi Finals.
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.
This is the fourth time the Indian U19 team have won the World Cup having previously won when Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli and Unmukt Chand were the captains in 2000,2008 and 2012 respectively.