The brilliance of Raj Bawa and a composed run-chase saw India outclass England in the final of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022.
India’s victory was wrapped up with four wickets and 14 balls to spare, securing a record fifth crown for India in the ICC event’s history.
Here are the main talking points from the big match at the Sir Vivian Richard Stadium in Antigua.
India worthy winners of record fifth title
No nation has dominated U19 Men’s international cricket like India have over the past two-and a-bit decades. And the four-wicket victory in Antigua means that India have now won the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup five times in 22 years, finishing runners up in a further three tournaments in that period.
Yash Dhull’s side were well worth their title too, dominating throughout the 2022 event despite the disruption of a number of Covid-19 positive tests during the group stage.
India hit the highest team score of the tournament (405/5 vs Uganda), posted the highest individual score of the tournament (Raj Bawa’s 162*), and did not allow an opponent to score in excess of 200 runs in any of their six matches.
The side have offered threat with spin, with Vicky Ostwal the stand-out, and have bowled well with pace to, while all of the front-line batters have also contributed significant knocks throughout the tournament.
In the final itself it was allrounder Bawa who lit it up with the ball, taking India’s first-ever five-for in a U19 World Cup final, before Shaik Rasheed and Nishant Sindhu stroked classy 50s in the successful run-chase.
There is no guarantee that any of these players will become full India internationals, but on this evidence there are plenty in the squad who possess the talent and attitude to do just that.
Raj Bawa delivers on the big stage
Indian all-rounder Raj Angad Bawa comes from a family with sporting pedigree. His father was a respected cricket coach who helped Yuvraj Singh develop his game, while his grandfather was part of India's gold-medal-winning Olympic hockey team at the 1948 London Games.
And young Raj carried on his family’s sporting tradition with an eye-catching performance in the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Final, taking a brilliant 5/31 with his right-arm medium-fast bowling before contributing a handy 35 with the bat en-route to victory.
Bawa’s five-for was the first by an Indian bowler in eight U19 World Cup finals, and included some big scalps too.
Thanks to his unbeaten 162* against Uganda in the group stage, Bawa also becomes only the second Indian U19 men’s player in the country’s history to take a five-wicket haul and hit a score over 150 at an ICC event, following in the footsteps of the legendary Kapil Dev.
Bawa can bat, he can bowl, he can field, he can do just about anything he puts his mind to on a cricket field. The future is very bright for the 19-year-old from Chandigarh.
Rew and Boyden can hold their heads high
James Rew is rated as one of the most promising batters in this generation of England players, but hadn’t really clicked at the tournament prior to the final.
The 18-year-old had reached double figures in all five of his innings, yet had not progressed beyond 29 in any. But, with his team in big trouble, Rew delivered on his promise on the biggest stage, hitting a superb 95 to give his side a chance.
The Somerset youngster stroked 12 fours in his impressive innings, accelerating after initially bedding in to anchor the rebuild. And he was unfortunate not to finish the final with a century to his name, caught in the deep just five runs short of his ton.
England’s Joshua Boyden also had another impressive showing in the final, striking yet again with the new ball to finish as the leading wicket-taker amongst all the fast bowlers at the tournament.
The 17-year-old left-arm seamer took wickets in all six of his matches in the Caribbean, and helped build pressure too with some promising control.
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