India through to final despite hiccup
India U-19s 191 for 7 (Goswami 51, Virat 43, Southee 4-29) beat New Zealand U-19s 205 for 8 (Anderson 70, Virat 2-27) by three wickets (by D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
India Under-19s were stretched for the first time in the tournament but held their nerve in a tense chase under lights in wet conditions at the Kinara Oval to beat New Zealand by three wickets to reach their second successive final.
The victory was set up by their bowlers, who bowled an economical wicket-to-wicket line and restricted New Zealand to 205 and their batsmen, Shreevats Goswami in particular, displayed composure during the run-chase, which was shortened to 191 off 43 overs by the Duckworth-Lewis method.
There was a major rain delay in the seventh over of India's chase, soon after the opener Turuwar Kohli had been dismissed. Seven overs were lost, and Tanmay Srivastava fell soon after play resumed. However, Goswami, who was the only top-order batsman yet to make a significant contribution, struck from with a vital half century. His 84-run stand with Virat Kohli for the third wicket put India on course but the middle order, untested so far in the tournament, barely passed the examination.
New Zealand were the first side to take more than five Indian wickets and their medium-pacers. Led by Northern Districts fast bowler Tim Southee, who took 4 for 29 which was backed up by excellent ground-fielding, they triggered a collapse, taking five wickets for 59 runs. Southee struck twice in the 40th over, having Manish Pandey and Ravindra Jadeja caught behind. Trent Boult also induced an edge from Iqbal Abdulla in the 41st but Saurabh Tiwary's unbeaten 29 ensured India hung on for the win.
India have had a 'home advantage' in the tournament because they've played all their matches at the Kinrara Oval, where a sizeable number of fans playing musical instruments have supported them vociferously. Today, however, they had the worse of the conditions, for New Zealand won the toss and made India field in searing heat and chase under the lights.
Their bowlers performed superbly in the afternoon. The primary strike bowler, Pradeep Sangwan, did not find his rhythm and failed to take early wickets but managed to keep the runs down. Ajitesh Argal, who shared the new ball, bowled a consistent off-stump line and seamed it away from the right-hander. It was one such delivery, which moved into the left-hand opener, George Worker, which gave India the first wicket via a tame push to mid-on.
New Zealand were 29 for 2 and Kane Williamson and Fraser Colson concentrated on building the innings. The attacking shots were rare - Williamson pulled to the square-leg boundary when the length permitted - but they steadily added 57. Virat, having tried all his bowling options, brought himself on, a move that produced quick results. He varied his pace and his straight line made him difficult to hit. He slipped one down leg side and had Williamson stumped before bowling Colson as he tried to play across the line.
Corey Anderson began consolidating with Southee but lost him and Morgan in the space of two overs to Kaul, who bowled a fabulous death-over line, keeping it full and straight. Anderson did the bulk of the scoring and pushed the run-rate up to four an over as the batsmen at the other end merely hung around. He struck six fours and four sixes, two of which flew over the media box, and fell only in the 49th over for a 68-ball 70.
The chase started late because of a shower during the dinner break and Southee bowled a hostile spell once played resumed. He used his height to gain bounce from a good length and seamed the ball away from the right-handers. He could have had Goswami for a duck but the wicketkeeper Guptill-Bunce grassed a low chance. However, he dismissed Turuwar, who tried to break free by pulling from outside off stump and holed out to midwicket for 10. It began to rain as he walked off.
Srivastava was fluent when play resumed, but his innings was cut off by an athletic catch: Anderson moved to his left at mid-on and dived full length to take it with one hand.
Goswami made the most of his reprieve and, after seeing off the new ball, played outstanding drives through the off side, none better than the shot played on the up past mid-off to bring up his half-century. Virat, a powerful batsman, flayed the bowling through covers consistently with whippy drives. With the rain break, the D/L target had to be kept in mind and Virat's quick-scoring eliminated that burden.
India and Pakistan remain the only unbeaten teams in the tournament but while India's bowling has delivered efficient performances in each match, it has been their consistent batting that has set them apart from the other teams. They now await the outcome of the South Africa-Pakistan clash on Friday.
George Binoy is a staff writer at Cricinfo