Ecstatic Indian fans emanated from the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville after witnessing another heroic performance from the colts! For the second consecutive time, the India under-19 brigade has been successful in bringing the World Cup home. Stuck in a hole, a century from the captain is just what the doctor ordered to win this wonderfully contested match.
In the last five years, India has won 4 World Cups including the T20 World cup, 50 over World cup and two Under-19 World Cups! The last time this tournament was held, the Virat Kohli led team won the World Cup and this time, another Delhi lad, Unmukt Chand did the honours.
Unmukt Chand was the star of the day piling his 5th century in the under-19 circuit. But today, he was absolutely exceptional! Chasing 226 to win, the pair of Chand and Aparajith got them off to a rocket like start. Barring Chand, Aparajith is another bright spot . An all round cricketer, he can be considered a wonderful future prospect. The runs were flowing, the boundaries were coming thick and fast till the pair were batting. The moment, Aparajith departed, India began sliding down a deep dark hole. Chand was left stagnant at one end while he witnessed his partners come and go. The Australian bowlers had to be commended for their tight precise wicket to wicket bowling.
Just when the side was slipping waywardly, Smit Patel, the wicket keeper, decided to rise to the occasion. A busy player, he was apt for the role. His ability to pick singles and find the gaps were very much in need back then. On a bouncy track, the duo had a cool head over their shoulders. At times, Patel did try to do something stupid but moments later, Chand was seen charging down the pitch to slow his partner down. After a drought of about 15 overs, runs began to flow again. Chand was again in the limelight striking 6 jaw dropping sixes, the best one being the one over the covers to bring his 100, and 7 mind blowing fours.
As the target was a modest one, the run rate was never seen going way ahead. There was a time when the difference between the number of balls and the runs required was 10 but a boundary from the willow of either Chand or Patel would slow things down. I would be failing in my duty if did not mention the efforts of player like Harmeet Singh and Sandeep Sharma. Harmeet Singh has been regarded by Ian Chappel as the best spinner of the tournament while Sandeep Sharma picked up four wickets today to restrict Australia to 225.
It is a moment to savour, to remember and never to forget. This was probably the last time that these bunch of players will ever play together again. Some of them might never be seen or heard again while some might get the opportunity to don the colours of the Indian national team. Well played Team India and best of luck to all of you from us at OP!