India v New Zealand, ICC U-19 World Cup, 2nd semi-final, Townsville August 23, 2012

Chopra, Harmeet take India to final


India Under-19 209 for 9 (Chopra 52, Horne 3-28) beat New Zealand Under-19 200 for 9 (Fletcher 53, Harmeet 2-30) by 9 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Having disappointed for most of the World Cup, India's batting unit turned in a much-improved performance in the semi-final against New Zealand, while their bowlers continued their impressive form to set up a summit clash against Australia on Sunday. The top order set up a solid base, and despite a middle-order slump, India were able to get past 200, a total that has been difficult to chase at Tony Ireland Stadium.

New Zealand fought hard, though, consolidating after losing top-order wickets in a clutch, and steered themselves to a position from where they could launch an assault at the end, much like they did in the quarterfinal against West Indies. They were not allowed to. All the Indian bowlers held their own. With no weak link to exploit, New Zealand lost wickets in the search for momentum, and the gap between runs needed and balls remaining stayed wide enough to see India through. New Zealand needed 18 off the last over in this game as well; they got eight.

Like they did in the quarterfinal, India lost the toss and this time were sent in to bat by Will Young. The conditions weren't that bad - a flatter pitch and a sunnier morning - and after surviving a few jitters, Unmukt Chand and Prashant Chopra gave their team a start.

Chand was nervy in the first over, inside-edging past his stumps and playing and missing while trying to cover drive. He settled down soon, though, and began middling his drives when playing much closer to his body. Chopra was more confident at the start, getting behind the line to block out the new ball. However, as he struggled to find gaps to score, Chopra began to try innovations such as the ramp shot over the wicketkeeper. He missed four times and connected once and was 2 off 24 balls at one stage. He was also struck painfully on the box by Ed Nuttall and writhed in pain for a few minutes before getting back up to carry India forward.

The opening stand was worth 51, India's second best in the World Cup, when Chand was bowled by a slower ball from Connor Neynens, who had been driven to the straight and cover boundaries in his previous over, the 12th. Chopra carried on, forging another half-century partnership with Baba Aparajith, hitting the legspinner Ish Sodhi for a huge six over long-off.

Aparajith batted sensibly for the second consecutive innings, focusing on pushing the ball into gaps in the sizeable outfield and running hard. He maintained a healthy strike-rate despite hitting only two boundaries, while Chopra made up for his slow start with firm blows. They added 81 for the second wicket, the first time India have had consecutive half-century stands in five matches.

On 52, Chopra lofted Nuttall to wide mid-on only to see Young fly through the air with one hand outstretched and catch the ball. India were 132 for 2 and they lost ground after that, with the left-arm spinner Ben Horne taking 3 for 20 to help limit India to 209 for 9.

There wasn't as much swing for India's new ball bowlers but that did not prevent Sandeep Sharma and Kamal Passi from bowling tight lines and lengths. New Zealand did not lose early wickets, though, with Joe Carter doing most of the scoring. Michael Davidson took 16 balls to get off the mark.

After losing Davidson with the score on 29, New Zealand progressed to 53 for 1 when they lost three wickets in three overs and slipped to 63 for 4. They were always behind the chase after that. Harmeet Singh took two of those wickets with flighted deliveries that spun away from the right-hander. Horne closed the face and got the leading edge to point, and Young edged to slip. Between those dismissals, Ravikant Singh dismissed the well-set Carter for 30.

Harmeet and Aparajith slowed New Zealand down tremendously: Harmeet bowling slower and turning the ball, while Aparajith was flatter and more economical. Between them they took 3 for 59 in 20 overs.

There was a whiteboard in the New Zealand dug out that had the comparative scores for India and them for every five-over block. Harmeet and Aparajith bowled consecutive maidens and after the 35th, New Zealand were 115 for 4, needing 95 off 90 balls. India had been 136 for 2.

Though India did not finish as strongly as they would have liked when they batted, their bowlers ensured New Zealand were simply unable to accelerate. Their challenge ended when Sandeep bowled Cam Fletcher, who had batted solidly once again for 53, in the 48th over.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • red on August 26, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    @abdulahadjawaid one more last time............. Look, this 'ordinary' team has done it again! They have won the world cup, beating none other than Australia in their own home, with farely good bowling. I believe that' 'abroad' for Indians, isn't it? Am i wrong here?

  • red on August 25, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    @abdulahadjawaid again... And while there is no doubt that Pakistan has always produced excellent bowlers, hardly any of their batsmen of recent years have the caliber of even the least productive Indian batsmen of the playing XI. India has achieved all the milestone in last few years without any significant bowling, BECAUSE it can win matches on its batting alone. The day we even get half of good bowlers as Pakistan, India should be simply unbeatable for even powerhouses like Australia, SA and England. I am not counting the subcontinental teams as even now with the Indian batting alone (without any good bowling), they are hardly ever able to beat India anyways. And btw, this U-19 team has reached the finals for its good bowling, not due to batting!

  • red on August 25, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    @abdulahadjawaid... Brother, i dont wanna be judgemental whether you are anti-Indian or not, but your words certainly do reflect some bias and prejudice resulting in so many responses against your comments. And believe me, these people here are not that crazy. Also, why accept a fabricated 'FACT' when there is 'NO FACT' in it. You are first calling Indian teams (senior and U-19) 'Ordinary' and then clarify it by saying 'ordinary abroad'. Then you call pakistani team 'ordinary in ONEDAY' as if it has been maintaining no 1 tag in tests all these years. We all know that the fact is rather far from it. Just because India fared extremely bad against England and Australia in one season, doesnt make them 'that ordinary'. They have maintained no 1 rank in tests for more than two years and not all of those matches were played in India. And remember, it's not just India. all subcontinent teams are poor outside the subcontinent, even Pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    I am always in awe of the Pakistani pace battery,as a true cricket fan who appreciates good cricket and cricketers.The number of Pakistani fast bowlers and their talent just makes them so admirable.No country in the world can match their pace battery for sure and the bench strength they have on that regard.The only thing which pakistan seem to lack is quality batsmen.After Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan,Pakistan need a quality batsman who can inspire the entire batting line up and hold the line up together.Most Pakistani batsmen seem to follow the "boom boom" trend started by Afridi which has let to ferocious and powerful hitters of the cricket ball with no or little technique.Agreed that Sehwag is an improvised antecedent of the boom boom trend,but his hand eye coordination is what makes him tick.That cant be expected of every batsman.Youngsters tend to follow sehwag and afridi but the players they should try to copy would be dravid,mohammad yousuf,sachin and younis khan.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    Even if India loses this final,there is not much shame.U-19 WC 2008 gave us Virat Kohli,it would be great if this WC throws up a mature and intelligent cricket minded player who goes on to do well for India.As for fast bowling is concerned,being an Indian I have no shame in accepting the fact that India has never produced a genuine fast bowler who can consistently bowl at 140+ with decent control.The way the domestic pitches are made in India is hardly going to ever change this unless BCCI uses its resources to prepare lively,bouncy and bowler friendly pitches.Sachin,Dravid and Laxman are once in a lifetime players,with the pitches encouraging our batters to be dustbowl tormenters for other teams find themselves all at bay when it comes to green tops and bouncy pitches.So I really dont expect out future batsmen to be technically competitive enough,for example you can handcount players in India who play the short ball well.If things dont change Indian cricket RIP !! :(

  • mythily on August 24, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    @marcio, I guess no one complaining here except you say that draws are uneven.Pakistan ,India ,westindies and NZ are strong teams ( in case you are trying to say this group draw indirectly) where pakistan and india won series in australia which includes the home team participation as well..Dnt underestimate any team.Afterall Australia playing in home condition.Ofcourse Australia are favoritbecause to the above reasons ,but last one yr period, Pakistan and India had more success compared to other teams.Looking for a good contest,Afterall they are future for respective cricket teams.

  • Naresh on August 24, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    INDIA might be missing something. Why is it that in this U19 world cup our bowlers have been pretty good? Could it be that they are so starved of good pitches in India to bowl on, that they then let loose on green tops? Maybe we are not as speedy as other pace bowlers but bowling slower might induce more swing. I suggest that BCCI should look at options when we have tours to India whereby have half the series are played on green tops and the half of the series on turning tracks.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    @ abdulahadjawaid - I think, you have been misunderstood here.

  • Abdul on August 24, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    @CricBlogger05 Obviously I meant when the skills are present at both sides and it comes first. Do I need to start from ABCD? Good for you if you're happy with "your extra-ordinary" team. Lets see in coming years what these Indian bowlers do in future. Still not sure why people are taking me as an anti-Indian. Many of my Indian friends think the same.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    well done Baba Aparajith and the Team India ...

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