Having booked their place in the knockout round, Indian U19 team should set the stage on fire now if they want to progress further.
Indian U19 team met Papua New Guinea (PNG) U19 in their last of group matches. Faced with must win situation, India squeezed through easily by pushing the minnow PNG aside. India U19 made no changes to their playing XI from the one that played against Zimbabwe U19 two days ago. After winning the toss, Indian captain Unmukt Chand decided to bat first, in an attempt to make his batsmen’s get some confidence and runs under their belts.
But things didn’t go as planned for India U19 team. They were off to a bad start. After scoring a boundary in his first ball, Unmukt Chand was caught behind in the next ball. Chopra carried on his last match form and kept the scorecard ticking without much contributions from his partners. Aparajith got run out for 14 runs in 10th over and Vihari got trapped in front of stumps for just 4 runs in 16th over. Chopra scored his second half century in a row but soon after that got dismissed by Vagi Morea. Chopra scored 58 off 79 balls (7×4).
Akshdeep Nath also gone without trouble the scorecard much. India were at bit of bother with 98/6 from 24 overs. But Vijay Zol came good finally for India in this U19 world cup. Vijay Zol and keeper Samit Patel added valuable 82 runs for 7th wicket partnership. But once Samit got dismissed by Haoda, Soper ran through Indian tail order with ease. India U19 got bowled out for 204 runs from 45.1 overs. Vijay Zol top scored for India U19 with 72 runs while Soper got five wickets haul to his name.
Papua New Guinea U19 team batsmen’s failed to match their bowlers effort in the run chase as only three of them got into double figures. India U19 bowlers tightened the screws for PNG batsmens, who struggled even to rotate the strike. Ravikant Singh who impressed with his good bowling in the previous match as he got zip and bounce off the pitch, got five wickets in today’s match. Kamal Passi and Aparajith chipped in with two wickets each as PNG U19 got bowled for 97 runs. Amine top scored for PNG with 28 runs.
With this win, India U19 finished 2nd in group B with 4 points and qualified for quarter finals along with West Indies U19 team, who topped the group with 6 points. In the world cup quarter finals, India U19 will face the tournament favourites and consistent Pakistan U19 team. India U19 must play to their best of potential if they want to beat Pakistan U19 in the quarters. Especially the batting must come good. Though Chopra, Unmukt Chand, Vijay Zol and Samit Patel looked good so far, middle order main stays Vihari and Akshdeep Nath are yet to find their groove.
In their last match in Asia cup final at Malaysia, India and Pakistan U19 teams had nothing to separate but the conditions are different in the U19 world cup at Australia. Pakistan U19 will go into the match as favourites. India U19 players needs to pull up the sucks and must believe they can win.
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