Tuesday, August 28, 2012

India Under-19 Wins 2012 ICC World Cup Championship

India Under-19 lifted their third ICC World Cup title after beating defending champions Australia by six wickets in the final at Townswille, a city on the north-eastern coast of Australia, in the state of Queensland, on August 26.

Courtesy a magnificent unbeaten 111 by Skipper Unmukt Chand and his unbroken partnership of 130 runs with wicketkeeper Smit Patel, India overhauled the competitive target of 226 on a bouncy strip with 14 balls to spare. It was one of the best centuries one could have witnessed at the junior-level as Unmukt hit seven fours and as many as six sixes during his 130-ball knock. He completed his century with a six over extra-cover off Alex Gregory but the celebrations were muted. The Indian captain knew that the job was only half done.

Finally, when Smit, who hit an effective 62, slog-swept off-spinner Ashton Turner toward deep mid-wicket for a four a number of Indian supporters rushed to the ground along to celebrate with the team.

Though four wickets were lost in the chase, it never looked like an uphill task for the Indians, who were subdued in the middle overs but accelerated towards the end to get to the target with ease.

After Prashant Chopra was out chasing a delivery down leg-side of Mark Steketee without troubling the scorers, Unmukt and in-form batsman Baba Aparajith (33) took the attack to the opposition. The duo added 73 runs for the second wicket, playing the Aussie pace trio of Steketee, Joel Paris and Gurinder Sandhu with ease.

Unmukt was phenomenal in the closing stages, hitting a couple of glorious sixes off Sandhu’s bowling. The first was over long-off while the second looked even more spectacular as he presented the full face of the bat with a nice follow through.

Aparajith, on the other hand, hit a nice hook shot off Paris and some lovely cover drives that pierced the field. However, Sandhu had the last laugh when he forced Aparajith to drive on the up and the catch was brilliantly taken by Ashton Turner at short-cover.

Batsmen Excelled
Indian batsmen came good after their bowlers had a hot and cold day, their first such performance in this championship. India had won the toss for the first time at this venue and Sandeep struck with his fourth delivery. He bowled an inswinger that Jimmy Peirson shouldered arms to, hit off stump, and celebrated with the nonchalance of a man who has made an early wicket a habit. In his second over, Sandeep had the other opener Cameron Bancroft lbw, reducing Australia to 8 for 2.

The other new-ball bowler Kamal Passi was not as successful. At the end of their first spells, Sandeep had figures of 5-2-8-2 and Passi 4-0-24-0.

Unmukt brought on his offspinner in the 11th over and Aparajith went round the wicket immediately to the left-hand batsman Kurtis Patterson and bowled him. In the next, Ravikant drew an edge from Meyrick Buchanan and Australia were 38 for 4. Bosisto and Travis Head had to rescue the innings, like they had against England and Bangladesh.

Road to Final
India's Journey: Lost to West Indies by four wickets, beat Zimbabwe by 63 runs, beat Papua New Guinea by 107 runs, beat Pakistan by one wicket in the quarter-final, beat New Zealand by nine runs in the semi-final.

Australia's Journey: Defeated England by six wickets, beat Nepal by 212 runs, beat Ireland by six wickets, beat Bangladesh by five wickets in the quarter-final, and beat South Africa by four wickets in the semi-final.

Indian Skipper Unmukt Chand and Australian Captain William Bosisto were named Player of the Match and Player of the Tournament, respectively.

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