India pull off a thrilling chase to reach U19 World Cup final

India chased down 245 against South Africa in their ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup semi-final in Benoni with Sachin Dhas and Uday Saharan leading the charge.

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India v South Africa | Match Highlights | U19 CWC 2024

India won a thrilling chase by two wickets.

India v South Africa in Benoni, First semi-final

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Toss: India won the toss and elected to bowl first

Result: India win by two wickets

Uday Saharan won the toss and opted to chase in the first semi-final. This was the first time India bowled first in the tournament, having batted first in all five games so far.

Despite a considerable slowdown in the middle overs, South Africa managed to reach a decent total on the back of attacking cricket in the initial and late phases of their innings. Despite losing four wickets for 32, India manged to complete a thrilling chase on the back of a brilliant stand between Saharan and Sachin Dhas.

How India chased down the target

The Young Proteas were right on the mark from the get-go. Kwena Maphaka started the innings with a spiteful bouncer, which took the edge of Adarsh Singh's bat and flew to the keeper. In the fourth over, Tristan Luus had India's star batter in the tournament, Musheer Khan, caught at second slip for merely four.

It was Luus who took the lead for the African side, getting two more wickets in his opening spell, and leaving India reeling at 32/4 by the 12th over. After a watchful start, the stand between Saharan and Sachin Dhas picked off. The latter took the lead in run-scoring, hitting three fours in the 19th over. India's 100 came up in the 25th over. Dhas had already made his half-century by the time the duo's stand stood at hundred.

As India grew stronger, Juan James went back to his strike bowlers Luus and Maphaka. However, India's fifth-wicket pair kept their cool. Mixing thoughtful running with attacking strokes, the duo closed in on the target. It was Maphaka who earned South Africa their fifth wicket, by getting Dhas to chip one towards covers in the 43rd over to break the stand. The left-arm pacer was at his very best and had Avanish Aravelly off the last ball of his spell to leave the equation at 19 off 18.

Saharan kept his cool, and with decent support from Raj Limbani, brought the side within one run of the target despite a couple of wickets falling to keep the Proteas in the game. Limbani hit the winning runs off the second last ball of the 49th over, although with the scores level, India also lost the skipper for 81 to a brilliant run-out.

Uday Saharan POTM Highlights | U19 CWC 2024

Uday Saharan played a captain's knock in Benoni

How the South Africa innings unfolded

Raj Limbani struck early when he accounted for the dangerous Steve Stolk. The fiery batter hit two fours and a six during his brief stay but went after a wide one and nicked one behind the stumps. South Africa's other opener, Lhuan-dre Pretorius opened his arms after this loss and hit a flurry of boundaries. Despite losing David Teeger (0) to a brilliant inswinger from Limbani, the Proteas were situated at a healthy 55/2 at the end of the first Powerplay.

India spinners were able to bring down the scoring rate thereafter, with just 63 runs coming between overs 11-30. The pressure finally got to Pretorius, who tried to hoick Musheer Khan over mid-wicket but was held at short mid-wicket. Abhishek Murugan took an exceptional catch, holding on to a ball that was racing past him with both hands.

Richard Seletswane and Oliver Whitehead tried to pick the scoring rate with a range of attacking strokes, but Saharan stuck to his spinners. This yielded Whitehead's wicket at the end of the 40th over.

Tristan Luus with a Caught Out vs. India

Tristan Luus (South Africa ) with a Caught Out vs. India , 02/06/2024

Seletswane was joined by skipper Juan James in the 43rd over. The South Africa innings picked pace during their partnership, and South Africa became the first team to cross 200 against India in the tournament.

Naman Tiwari and Limbani struck late in the death overs, but lusty blows from Tristan Luus (23* from 12) helped South Africa to 244/7.

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