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The Bulletin by Sidharth Monga
March 2, 2008
India Under-19s 159 (Srivastava 46, Parnell 2-21, Arnold 2-30) beat South Africa Under-19s 103 for 8 (Hendricks 35, Arghal 2-7, Jadeja 2-25) by 12 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
With rain reducing the Under-19 World Cup final to a battle of nerves, the Indian bowlers held theirs better than did the South African batsmen to win by a dozen runs, and with that their second U-19 World Cup. Set 99 to chase off 98 balls after the rain break, South Africa never got going and collapsed 13 runs short.
Bowled out for 159 following a stifling performance by South Africa's bowlers and fielders, India responded by blowing the South African top order away before rain intervened. Facing India's new-ball bowlers, Ajitesh Argal and Pradeep Sangwan, the South Africans batted like rabbits caught in headlights, showing no intent and failing to get the ball off the square. Argal made short work of Pieter Malan and Riley Rossouw, and a terrible misunderstanding between JJ Smuts and Reeza Hendricks reduced them to 17 for 3 off 8.4 overs before rain halted play. Argal's figures at that time read 4-2-3-2, two of those runs coming in wides.
South Africa lost a wicket soon after the resumption and though Hendricks and Wayne Parnell hung around - despite two dropped catches and a missed stumping, they weren't able to score too many boundaries on the damp outfield. Hendricks and Parnell added 50 for the fifth wicket in 57 balls, but Hendricks mis-hit a waist-high full toss from Ravindra Jadeja to fall for 35 off 43. South Africa, at that time, required 44 off five overs.
Iqbal Abdulla, the other left-arm spinner, struck immediately to reduce South Africa to 75 for 6, leaving it down to Parnell and Bradley Barnes. The two spinners kept it tight, giving a total of 12 runs in the penultimate two overs, leaving Siddarth Kaul 19 runs to defend in the final over. The first ball was paddled by Barnes past short fine-leg for four, but the next five deliveries yielded only two and the wickets of Parnell and Barnes, kicking off wild celebrations for the Indian side.
Parnell fought for his 29 but fell short of partners. With the ball, though, he found a perfect ally in Matthew Arnold. The two, coupled with electric all-round fielding, had restricted India.
South Africa's bowlers offered few loose deliveries, and even those had to clear the lively infielders. Frustrated, Virat Kohli and Tanmay Srivastava tried to go over the top, but both of them found Sybrand Engelbrecht, who pulled off screamers to break the back of India's middle order. Every time the ball went towards Engelbrecht, he came up with something spectacular, casting doubt in the minds of the batsmen. One of those resulted in the run-out of Iqbal Abdulla.
It was Srivastava who prevented a complete disaster as Parnell and Arnold found the Indian top order a notch below their class, dismissing the openers for next to nothing. After Parnell had won the toss and bravely put India in, it was just as well that the Indian openers, Taruwar Kohli and Shreevats Goswami, were dismissed cheaply, ending their painful existence at the wicket. Taruwar repeated his semi-final dismissal as he top-edged a lame pull from wide outside off stump. Goswami edged and prodded his way to 6 off 25 balls, showing his discomfort against anything not full, and then nicked Arnold to second slip, leaving India at 27 for 2 in the 10th over. Parnell and Arnold made a dangerous combination, left-arm in-swing being Parnell's main weapon, and raw pace Arnold's.
Parnell mixed the bouncers well with the swing, while Arnold bowled the fastest spell of the tournament, troubling the left-handers from round the stumps. Srivastava and Virat put India on the comeback track with a 47-run third-wicket partnership: Srivastava batted fluently, and Virat solidly. But just as Virat started to cut loose, hitting the medium-pace of Malan for a majestic six over extra cover, Engelbrecht came up with that blinder.
Srivastava, meanwhile, was playing a different game. The first ball he faced he punched through point for two. The early part of his innings was streaky as he was tested by Arnold, who got the ball to hold the line from round the stumps, and Srivastava almost played on when he was on 6. But he settled down soon to play a fine innings. Especially strong through point, he drove the fast bowlers with an open face for two boundaries, and lofted the medium-pace of Roy Adams for a four and a six, who he had picked as the weak link as soon as he came on in the 14th over. Srivatsava, too, fell to Engelbrecht's brilliance at point for 46 off 74 balls.
Not that Engelbrecht was the only spectacular fielder; he had Rossouw at cover to make scoring difficult through the off side. Barnes, the wicketkeeper, continued an impressive World Cup as he showed a tremendous mix of great work behind the stumps and presence of mind to run Saurabh Tiwary out after he and Manish Pandey had threatened to build a fightback. Tiwary, batting with Srivastava as his runner, missed a yorker from offspinner Yaseen Vallie, which Barnes collected cleanly and turned towards square leg to find Srivastava backing up, and whipped the bails off. That ended a 37-run fifth-wicket partnership. Barnes followed it up with two more difficult catches to finish the Indian tail off.
But after putting up a superb show for more than half the duration of the match, South Africa failed to bring their best game at a time when men are made out of boys.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?