Unbeaten India U-19 defeat hosts Sri Lanka to lift the Asia Cup for the third time

India have never lost the tournament since its inception in 2012. Skipper Abhishek Sharma's bowling helped India restrict hosts Sri Lanka

Indian colts defeat Sri Lanka to lift the Asia Cup for the third time. India won the game by 34 runs. Earlier in the day, India had won the toss and elected to bat first. Himanshu Rana’s 71 and Shubman Gill’s 70 helped India post 273 on the board. Sri Lanka’s Nipun Ransika and Praveen Jayawickrama took 3 wickets a piece.

Sri Lanka began strongly and were crusing at 110/2 in the 20th over. With just 164 needed in 30 overs, opening batsman Reven Kelly looked well settled at the crease. After Kelly’s dismissal (62), the complexion of the game changed. Indian captain Abhishek Sharma got his second wicket and the most crucial of the game.

Sri Lanka needed 66 from the last 8 overs with 5 wickets remaining and Sri Lankan captain Kamindu Mendis at the crease. Indian skipper dismissed his opposite number and turned the match in India’s favour with Sri Lanka requiring 59 runs from 41 balls with just 4 wickets remaining. Sri Lanka lost the plot and wickets fell one after the other. Sharma took 4 wickets giving away just 37 runs in his quota of overs while Rahul Chahar picked 3/22. Sri Lanka made 239/10 in their reply to India’s 274.

Coached by former India cricketer Rahul Dravid, have been exceptional in the tournament. India registered a comprehensive win against Afghanistan in the semi-finals. They 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.

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.