The India Under-19 team, going into the tournament, was the favorite to lift the coveted ICC Under-19 World Cup and indeed the Boys in Blue lived up to the expectations. It was an astonishing effort by the youngsters who stood well above the rest and won all the 6 games of the tournament and that too with sheer domination.
The boys had stamped their authority in their very first game of the World Cup by defeating Australia by 100 runs. Then the minnows Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe were thrashed by 10 wickets. Bangladesh were no match to the might of India in the quarter-final as they lost by 131 runs and when the other neighbor Pakistan came head to head in the semis, India just lifted the game a few notches and gave them a hammering by 203 runs.
It was Australia once again that Prithvi Shaw and Co. had to overcome to claim the glory. In the decider, the boys in gold were also not good enough to match the skills that the Indian youngsters possess. Batting first after winning the toss, the Aussies were in a healthy situation at 183/4 in the 39th over as Jonathan Merlo held the innings together.
But the Indians pulled off a stunning comeback as they dismissed the opposition for 216 in the 48th over. The last 4 wickets fell for just 4 runs which meant that the batsmen were in for the chase of a paltry total.
While all eyes were on Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, the opener Manjot Kalra stole the show with a magnificent unbeaten 101 off 102 balls as India chased down the target in just 38.5 overs having 8 wickets in hand. The left-hander was outstanding as he simply ran away with the game from Australia and didn’t give them even a sniff.
The Indian troop sprinted to the middle with screams of joy as they became the first team to win the Under-19 World Cup 4 times. The coach and the legendary Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid was calm as usual and even though he remained shy of the limelight, he needs to be credit big time for his efforts.
This is a team that is full of future superstars. While Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill stood up with the bat, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi impressed one and all, as the speed clock regularly showed over 145 clicks. All of them have already bagged hefty IPL contracts and it’s safe to say Indian cricket’s future is in capable hands.