India have been close to flawless in the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup – in their five-match winning streak in the tournament, their smallest margin of victory has been a 100-run victory over Australia. Below, we chart their route to their final:
This was the victory that laid down the marker. It was expected to be a closely contested fixture, with two of the tournament heavyweights and favourites locking horns so early. It turned out to be a comfortable victory. Authoritative half-centuries from Prithvi Shaw, Manjot Kalra and Shubman Gill helped India post 328/7, but Australia still seemed in with a chance. But they couldn’t cope with the pace of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi who consistently clocked 140 KPH-plus deliveries, who both picked three wickets apiece.
Most expected India’s extreme pace to blow away PNG, but it was actually Anukul Roy’s left-arm spin that did the damage. The twirler returned figures of 5/14 and proved far too canny for PNG, who were bundled out for just 64 in 21.5 overs. It proved such an easy target that it took just 36 minutes and eight overs for India to complete the chase, Prithvi Shaw himself scoring 57 of the required runs in a 39-ball knock that contained 12 fours.
Zimbabwe opted to bat, but were shot out for 154 in 48.1 overs, Milton Shumba and Wesley Madhevere providing the only significant resistance. With just 155 to defend, Zimbabwe were never in it. Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra stepped aside, allowing Harvik Desai and Shubman Gill some time in the middle, and the two completed the chase in just 21.4 overs. Desai’s 73-ball 56 was in complete contrast to Gill’s 59-ball 90, which contained one of the shots of the tournament, a short-arm jab that flew over midwicket and earned comparisons to Virat Kohli.
Despite the eventual margin, India were made to work hard in their Quarter-Final. Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill managed to revive the innings after the early loss of Manjot Kalra, but once the two were dismissed, Bangladesh troubled the Indian middle order significantly, with Abhishek Sharma’s half-century taking India to 265. It was a mark of just how threatening this Indian side are that their bowlers still managed to comfortably get India across the line, bowling Bangladesh out for just 134 in 42.1 overs. Pinak Ghosh’s fighting 43 apart, none of the other batsmen crossed 18. Kamlesh Nagarkoti with 3/18 was the star with ball in hand.
It was billed as a contest between Pakistan’s pacemen and India’s batsmen, and that much was true – the first innings was an intriguing contest in which Shubman Gill scored a fantastic, dramatic century to help India to 272/9, even as Muhammad Musa and Arshad Iqbal troubled the middle order. But the second innings turned out to be no contest. India, led by Ishan Porel who took 4/17, ran through Pakistan without breaking much sweat. Pakistan’s top-scorer, Rohail Nazir, made just 18 as they recorded their lowest-ever total in the ICC U19 CWC.