Fast bowlers set up West Indies win
West Indies Under-19 167 for 6 (Alleyne 52, Harmeet 3-35) beat India Under-19 166 (Patel 51, Beaton 3-33) by four wickets
West Indies' fast bowlers made best use of the early morning conditions in Townsville to give their team an advantage that India failed to bridge as the day wore on. They took the field after an aggressive war cry during the team huddle on the boundary, after which their four quicks worked their way through India's top order with a primarily short-of-a-length attack. Deprived of scoring opportunities and losing wickets regularly, India stagnated and managed only 166.
Faced with a middling target, West Indies could afford to see off the new ball but they lost two early wickets in the process. India's pace options were limited, though, and once the spinners came on the middle-order batsmen settled in without much trouble. John Campbell and Anthony Alleyne charted the course with a 58-run partnership and Kyle Mayers helped finish it with 17 balls to spare. Mayers' 43 complemented his performance earlier in the day - 10-0-35-2.
The early work, however, was done by Mayers' colleagues, Ronsford Beaton and Jerome Jones. Beaton hit speeds of 143kph bowling with the wind, while Jones ran into it and delivered at 135 kph. They focused on keeping the ball back of a length and quite straight, giving the Indian batsmen very little to come forward to. There were cracks on the surface, which resulted in some uneven bounce.
Jones, the left-armer, struck first, having Prashant Chopra caught at square leg in the second over. Beaton hit Unmukt Chand on the body, forcing the batsman to take a breather on his haunches. Chand and Baba Aparajith concentrated on survival but in the ninth over Aparajith tried to hook a bouncer from Beaton and gloved it to the wicketkeeper.
India were 25 for 2 after the mandatory Powerplay and Beaton and Jones finished their first spells with maiden overs. Their replacements, Justin Greaves and Mayers, kept the Indians pinned to their crease. India had hobbled to 50 for 3 when Chand's patience wore thin in the 20th over. He had been let off by the keeper Sunil Ambris earlier but the second edge, off Mayers, was taken.
Smit Patel, India's wicketkeeper, settled against West Indies' spinners and was instrumental in getting India over 150. He made 51 but was unable to stay until the end, when Beaton and Jones returned to check India at the death.
India's new-ball bowlers weren't as fast but they were accurate. Sandeep Sharma moved the ball both ways. His inswing was significant but it was two perfect outswingers that found Ambris' edge and the top of Kraigg Brathwaite's off stump. His first spell read 5-2-5-2.
Campbell and Alleyne had to see off a few overs of pace before spin was introduced in the 12th over, and from then on the chase got easier. They kept driving to long-on and long-off to pick up singles with little risk. The scoring wasn't quick but it didn't need to be. West Indies and India were level around the 31st over mark, at 87 and 86 for 4, but the gap grew after that.
Harmeet Singh, the left-arm spinner, picked up three wickets but India needed to trigger a collapse to avert a West Indian victory. Alleyne and Mayers did not allow that to happen, and their 58-run stand secured the gam
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo