India won the tournament after comprehensive victories in each of their matches.
Beat Australia by 100 runs
Beat Papua New Guinea by 10 wickets
Beat Zimbabwe by 10 wickets
Beat Bangladesh by 131 runs
Beat Pakistan by 203 runs
Beat Australia by 8 wickets
Positives to take home?
India became the first team to win the tournament four times, and it was scripted by an all-round performance by everyone, including the fielders, who pulled off some outstanding catches. The margins of victory confirm the dominance of their performances, and the team coached by Rahul Dravid certainly didn’t concede much at any stage of their campaign.
Among the batsmen, Shubman Gill was the most impactful, scoring 63, 90 not out, 86, 102 not out and 31 to tally 372 runs at an average of 124 and strike rate of 112.38. Along with Gill, Prithvi Shaw (261 runs), Manjot Kalra (252) and Harvik Desai (157) put in good performances with the bat, while Anukul Roy, the left-arm spinner, was right on top of the wicket-taking charts with 14 scalps at an average of 9.07. Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Ishan Porel, the main pacers in the line-up, picked up good wickets even as all the frontline bowlers with the exception of Mavi returned economy rates of under four an over.
The fact that five Indians – Shaw, Kalra, Gill, Roy and Nagarkoti – featured in the Team of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup underlined the abilities of the young men.
Areas to improve?
So complete was India’s performance at the tournament that weaknesses are tough to spot.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t give more than two matches each to Himanshu Rana, the top-order batsman with the experience of 15 first-class matches, Aryan Juyal, the back-up wicketkeeper to Desai, and Arshdeep Singh, the left-arm medium pacer. But so effective was the first-choice line-up that there were few opportunities to experiment, leaving the three young men with little to show from their trips.
Abhishek Sharma, a former captain of the India Under-19 team and thought of in local circles as one for the future, played every match but had average returns with the bat – 78 runs from three innings at an average of 26 – but contributed with the ball, picking up six wickets at 16. He would have hoped to do more, as was the case with Shiva Singh, the left-arm spinner who was miserly but not always among the wickets in his six outings.
All five Indians included in the Team of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup were among the star players in the tournament, but Shubman Gill stood out with his consistency. Not yet 19, Gill has already played two first-class matches for Punjab, and scored 245 runs with a century and a half-century. The runs he scored in New Zealand are certain to raise his stocks and people’s expectations of him.