India’s tail-enders held their nerve in the tense dying moments to edge out Pakistan by one wicket in a low-scoring thriller to enter the semifinals of the Under-19 cricket World Cup here on Monday.
After dismissing Pakistan for a paltry 136, India made heavy weather of a small target as it was reduced to 127 for nine in 41 overs after being a comfortable 124 for six at one stage.
It was a nerve-wracking final 25 minutes as Mumbai lad Harmeet Singh and No. 11 Sandeep Sharma from Punjab eked out a one-wicket win with two overs to spare.
The tail-enders played out seven overs to score the remaining 10 runs as Pakistan applied pressure with its fielders closing in.
The victory came when Harmeet pulled Mohammad Nawaz towards the square-leg boundary to score two runs and take India to the victory target. The victory shot triggered off scenes of wild celebration in the Indian camp as his teammates rushed onto the field to hug him.
It must have personally been satisfying for both Sandeep and Harmeet who are dubbed as ‘under-19 veterans’ in their team as they were playing their second colts World Cup having been part of the team in 2010 as well. India had then lost to Pakistan.
Credit should also be given to B. Aparajith (51, 97b, 3x4), as his composed batting after the initial jitters steadied the ship.
India was tottering at eight for three within the first five overs of its chase but Aparajith along with Vijay Zol (36) added a crucial 66 runs for the fourth wicket to ensure India’s passage into the last four.
This was also sweet revenge for Unmukt Chand and Co., as Pakistan had convincingly beaten India in 2006 and 2010.
India will now take on New Zealand in the semifinals on August 23. New Zealand beat West Indies by three wickets in the other quarterfinal match.
Quarterfinals: Pakistan 136 in 45.1 overs (Babar Azam 50, Ehsan Adil 35, Sandeep Sharma three for 24, Ravikant Singh three for 43) lost to India 137 for nine in 48 overs (B. Aparajith 51, Vijay Zol 36, Zia-ul-Haq three for 23, Azizullah three for 30).
West Indies 237 in 50 overs (Brathwaite 53, Ambris 35, Hosein 54, Quinn three for 54) lost to New Zealand 238 for seven in 50 overs (Horne 59, O’Donnell 42, Fletcher 49, Beaton three for 47, Mayers three for 42).
Keywords: under-19 cricket World Cup