An exciting contest is on the cards as India and England lock horns against each other in the final of the ICC Men's Under-19 World Cup 2022 in Antigua on Saturday.
India registered a comprehensive 96-run win against Australia in the semi-final on Wednesday to book their berth in the finale of the marquee tournament in junior cricket.
On Tuesday, England edged past Afghanistan by 15 runs to make it to the final, to become the first team to book their spot in the final – it will be their first appearance in the final since 1998, when they emerged winners over New Zealand.
Here, we take a look at the journeys of each team to the final, and their top performers so far in the tournament.
England started their journey against Bangladesh in Basseterre. They made their intentions very clear in the first match, demonstrating how ruthless they can be, bowling the young Bangla Tigers out for just 97 runs and then chasing the target down with seven wickets remaining.
They were equally dominant in the next two matches as they won by 106 runs against Canada, and saw off UAE by 189 runs. England faced a stronger unit in South Africa in the quarterfinals, but delivered a thoroughly professional performance yet again, chasing down a target of 210 with six wickets remaining.
They looked like an unstoppable force and were the favourites going into the semi-finals against Afghanistan, but faced their toughest test so far – Afghanistan had them under the pump by reducing them to 106/5. England were staring down the barrel, but superb fifties by George Bell and Alex Horton helped them reach a competitive 231/6.
Rain delayed the match for a brief period after that, but on resumption, Afghanistan struggled chasing down their revised target of 230 in 47 overs. The Afghan batters tried their best and kept England under pressure throughout the game, but the English bowlers did well to stay ahead in the contest and restricted the Afghans to 15 runs short of the target, thus booking their berth in the final.
Captain Tom Prest is England's highest scorer in this tournament so far with 292 runs at an average of 73. He scored a century against UAE in the group stage, as well as a half-century against Canada.
Left-arm pacer Joshua Boyden is England's highest wicket-taker with 13 wickets to his name at an outstanding average of 9.53.
Wrist-spinner Rehan Ahmed has been the standout player for England in this tournament. Ahmed has impressed with his skill and art, and has played a crucial role for England in giving them important breakthroughs in the middle-overs. Ahmed has so far picked up 12 wickets in just three matches, at an excellent average of 9.91, and will be their main threat in the final against India.
Position in Group Stage
England finished at the top of Group A by winning all of their three matches against Bangladesh, Canada and UAE.
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India were tested in their very first match of the tournament against South Africa. The Proteas got some early breakthroughs and India were off to a shaky start. But a good innings of 82 from skipper Yash Dhull and vital contributions from the middle and lower order got them to a competitive total of 232. During the chase, Dewald Brevis threatened to take the match away from India but the young bowlers showed great heart and managed to bowl the Proteas out for 187. Left-arm orthodox spinner Vicky Ostwal registered a five-wicket haul, while seamer Raj Angad Bawa picked up four wickets.
India dominated the tournament thereafter registering wins against Ireland and Uganda by massive margins of 174 and 326 runs respectively. COVID-19 affected their camp as they lost key players for a couple of matches but India showed how much depth they had as the players on the bench delivered impactful performances.
The Indian colts came up with equally strong performances in the knockout stages. They defeated Bangladesh by five wickets in the quarterfinals and took down Australia by 96 runs in the semifinals to make it to their fourth successive U-19 World Cup Final.
Opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi is the highest run-scorer for India in this tournament with 278 runs to his name at an excellent average of 55.60. That includes a best of 144 that came against Uganda in the group stage.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Vicky Ostwal is the highest wicket-taker for India with 12 wickets to his name at an average of 10.75. Ostwal registered his best figures of 5/28 against South Africa in their very first match of this competition.
All-rounder Raj Angad Bawa has been the standout player for India in this tournament. He has amassed 217 runs in this competition, which includes a record-breaking knock of 162* against Uganda, and has also picked up four wickets at an average of 29.75.
Position in Group Stage
India were placed in Group B along with South Africa, Ireland and Uganda, and they finished right at the top of their group by winning all of their three matches.
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