The Indian Under-19 cricket team has made it to the finals of the ongoing Asia Cup. Led by Abhishek Sharma, India have been unbeaten in the four games that they have played so far. While it is yet to be decided whether India will face Sri Lanka or Bangladesh in the finals, defending champions India are all set to lift the U-19 Asia Cup again.
Coached by former India cricketer Rahul Dravid, the Indian team registered a comprehensive win against Afghanistan in the recently concluded semi-finals. India won the match by 77 runs thanks to Himanshu Rana’s knock of 130. Bowlers Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Yash Thakur and Rahul Chahar pitched in with 2 wickets each to restrict Afghanistan to 217.
In the group stages, India won all of its encounters convincingly. India registered a 235-run victory against Malaysia in the first match. Prithvi Shaw was the top-scorer with 89 runs and Kamlesh Nagarkoti took 4 wickets. India won their second game against Nepal by 6 wickets while chasing 173. Legbreak bowler Rahul Chahar took 5 wickets while Himanshu Rana and Shubman Gill scored half-centuries. Gill’s knock of 78 helped India chase 208 in the last group match against Sri Lanka. Shiva Singh and Yash Thakur took 3 wickets each. India won the match with 6 wickets in hand.
Indian batsman Himanshu Rana is the top scorer in the tournament so far with 212 runs in 4 matches. India’s Shubman Gill is placed second with 182 runs in 4 games. Prithvi Shah, another Indian batsman, is at third position with 150 runs in 3 games. Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Zadran and Naveen-ul-Haq are the highest wicket-takers so far with 9 wickets each. India’s Yash Thakur has 8 wickets and is placed third. Rahul Chahar and Kamlesh Nagarkoti have 7 wickets each for the fourth and fifth spot.
The first edition of the tournament was played in Malaysia in 2012. India were joint winners with arch-rivals Pakistan as the match ended in a tie. Sami Aslam’s 134 helped Pakistan set a target of 283. Indian captain Unmukt Chand led from the front and scored 121 but couldn’t guide India to victory. Both Aslam and Chand were adjudged Man of the Match for their efforts.
The previous edition was held in The United Arab Emirates in 2014. The same teams made it to the finals but India managed to beat Pakistan this time. Batting first, India scored 314 thanks to Vijay Zol and Sanju Samson’s tons. Pakistan made 274 thanks to Kamran Ghulam’s century. India won the game by 40 runs and Zol was awarded the Man of the Match.
The finals of the U-19 Asia Cup will be played on Friday, December 23. If Sri Lanka qualifies, they would have a home advantage. On the other hand, the Men In Blue would look to make it 3 out 3, irrespective of who the opposition would be.