Baba Aparajith stars again for India U19 in their semi final victory against New Zealand U19.
After a confidence boosting victories in their respective quarter final matches, India and New Zealand U19 teams battled out today to the decide who reaches the last stage of the tournament, i.e final of U19 cricket world cup. As it is always been throughout the tournament, toss was very crucial again today too. New Zealand captain Young won the toss and without any hesitation decided to bowl first. Not many teams had won the match, especially those big games by batting first in this tournament so far. So, the task for India U19 is cut out and they really excelled the limitations today.
Unmukt Chand and Prashant Chopra gave India a superb start with a fifty opening stand and also they played out the crucial new ball period well. Chand is particular in good scoring mood but Neynens slower one foxed him to play the (wrong) short early and thus exposed the stumps to the ball. In walked the last match star Aparajith and right away he looked comfortably at the crease. Chopra continued his fighting innings and scored a valiant fifty. He along with Aparajith forged a solid 2nd wicket partnership of 81 runs but slower their scoring rate means, India had to accelerate in the last 20 overs.
And the acceleration bought the curtains down. India U19 after being at strong position of 131/1 in 33 overs, lost three wickets in matter of next 7 runs. Chopra fell victim to the excellent catch by New Zealand U19 captain Young for 52 runs and Aparajith followed him after hitting the low full toss straight to mid-on for 44 runs. India’s lower order rock Vijay Zol departed without scoring any run. Vihari and co had to rebuilt the innings rather than looking to score quick runs. In the end, India reached good score of 209/9 in 50 overs but they lost last 8 wickets for 77 runs, which will be a concern for them in next match.
In run chase, New Zealand U19 began very cautiously by scoring at just above 2 an over in first 8 overs. Passi drawn the first blood for India but Sandeep had a catch dropped earlier off his bowling by skipper Chand in 7th over. New Zealand were 52/1 in 15th over with Carter and Horne on the crease. But just as it seemed good, they lost three wickets in next 14 balls and the match right away tilted in favour of India U19. O’Donnell and Fletcher just like in the quarter final against West Indies U19 tried to revive New Zealand U19 in the match but Aparajith provided the timely wicket of O’Donnell for India U19. With five wickets left and 81 required from last ten overs, New Zealand began to launch attack and they did seem to be on the track after scoring 25 runs in first three overs.
India U19 came back well in next three by removing two wickets and also giving away just 11 runs. Fletcher continued to fight and in the process reached the well played fifty. But with 38 needed from 18 balls, Fletcher had choice then to go after everything. Sandeep Sharma got the better off Fletcher and just when it looked like all over, Nuttall and Duffy added 19 runs in 10 balls to add more intensity to the match. The scenario is same again for New Zealand U19 like last match, 18 runs in last over but this time no heroics. India U19 won the match by 9 runs and booked their place in world cup final.
Brief Scores: India U19 209/9 (Chopra 52, Aparajith 44, Horne 3/28) defeated New Zealand U19 200 (Fletcher 53, Harmeet Singh 2/20)
India U19 will play Australia U19 in the U19 world cup final on coming Sunday (August 26th).
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