India’s Young Guns Misfire in Title Clash

This is India’s third successive defeat to a team from Australia in an elite ICC-organised tournament after the ICC World Test Championship final 2023 and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023…reports Asian Lite News

India U19 failed in their bid to clinch their sixth title in the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup as they suffered an untimely batting collapse to go down to Australia U19 by 79 runs in the final at Willowmoore Park, Benoni, on Sunday.

This is India’s third successive defeat to a team from Australia in an elite ICC-organised tournament after the ICC World Test Championship final 2023 and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.

This is Australia’s fourth title in the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup, adding to the titles they had previously won in 1988, 2002 and 2010. Five-time winners India finished runner-up for the fourth time in their ninth appearance in the final.

Pacer Mahli Beardman and off-break bowler Raf MacMillan claimed three wickets apiece for 15 and 43 runs respectively while Callum Vidler scalped two wickets for 35 runs in 10 wickets as India, chasing a target of 254, were bowled out for 174 in 43.5 overs, losing their first match in the event.

Australia dominated in all three departments of the game, as they recovered from a bad start to post 253/7 in 50 overs thanks to Harjas Singh top-scored with 55, while Weibgen, Harry Dixon and Ollie Peak contributed with important 40s.

India’s chase was off to a shambolic start as they lost four batters within the first 20 overs.

Among those dismissed were Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan, and Sachin Dhas, their three top run-getters in the tournament. Australia kept chipping away and picked four more wickets between overs 21-32. Despite the late charge from Abhishek Murugan (42 off 46), an Australia win was a mere formality, and they sealed the game in the 44th over.

India were rattled early in their chase when Arshin Kulkarni nicked one behind the wicket. Adarsh Singh (47 off 77) and Musheer Khan, the highest run-scorer in this event with two centuries, then proceeded cautiously. Merely two fours came in the first Powerplay. Musheer (22) began playing more adventurous strokes after the first 10 overs. However, he played on a Mahli Beardman delivery for 22.

Beardman had another big scalp when he dismissed India skipper Uday Saharan for 8. The batter tried to force the ball past offside but found his opposite number Weibgen at the backward point. India’s hopes were further dented when Sachin Dhas (8) edged one behind the stumps off Raf MacMillan.

Soon Priyanshu Moliya and Aravelly Avanish were dismissed without adding much to the total. When Adarsh Singh, who fought with a resilient 47, was dismissed by Beardman, the writing was on the wall for India. Abhishek Murugan scored a feisty 42, but it was too late for his side.

Earlier, pacers Raj Limbani and Naman Tiwari shared five wickets between them as India U19 restricted Australia to 253/7 despite a fighting half-century by middle-order batter Harjas Singh.

Harjas struck a 64-ball 55 and near half-centuries by opener Harry Dixon (42), skipper Hugh Weibgen (48) and Oliver Peake (46 not out) helped Australia U19 reach 253/7 in 50 overs, the highest-ever total in a U19 World Cup final. Limbani starred for India with 3-38 while Naman Tiwari bagged 3-63 as India applied breaks to the Australian innings at appropriate moments.

Harry Dixon was off to a belligerent start, taking 15 runs off Tiwari’s first over. However, Limbani struck the first blow for India, making one to swerve in and castled Sam Konstas in the third over. India soon switched to spin and managed to stem the scoring rate in the first Powerplay.

Dixon and Weibgen were watchful against the spinners at the start of the middle overs, while also calmly milking runs to keep the scoreboard ticking. The overs 11-20 saw Australia score 42 runs, with boundaries easing in towards the end of that period. A return to pace yielded immediate results in the 21st over, as Tiwari dispatched Weibgen for 48.

The left-armer struck again in his next over, this time getting the better of Dixon. The slower ball outfoxed the southpaw, and he popped it towards Abhishek Murugan — Australia down to 99/3 in the 23rd over.

Harjas Singh and Ryan Hicks then rebuilt for Australia with a patient stand. Harjas, who had scored merely 49 runs in the tournament thus far, opened his arms against the spin of Priyanshu Moliya, hitting a six and four in the 28th over. He hit a flurry of boundaries thereafter as the duo raised 66 runs for the fourth wicket.

Hicks was eventually trapped leg before by Limbani for 20, but Australia were progressing at a healthy run rate. Harjas punched a Tiwari full toss down the ground in the 37th over to bring his maiden fifty of the U19 World Cup — reaching the milestone off 59 deliveries, hitting three boundaries and an equal number of maximums.

Saumy Pandey struck back for India by getting Harjas soon after. The batter tried to sweep Pandey towards the on-side but missed and was trapped plumb leg before.

Ollie Peake’s positive intent helped Australia craft their total past 200 even as India’s bowlers kept chipping away. Australia eventually added 66 off the last 10 overs.

Brief scores:

Australia U19 253/7 in 50 overs (Harjas Singh 55, Hugh Weibgen 48, Oliver Peake 46 not out, Harry Dixon 42; Raj Limbani 3-38, Naman Tiwari 2-63) beat India U19 174 all out in 43.5 overs (Adarsh Singh 47, Murugan Abhishek 42; Mahli Beardman 3-15, Raf MacMillan 3-43, Callum Vidler 2-35) by 79 runs.

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