George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Most matches at the Under-19 World Cup have been played in relatively friendly spirits, which was why the difference in attitude during the second innings of the final stood out. India were visibly pumped up even before they began their defence and their aggression on the field was plainly visible.
Several celebrations - the send-off they gave JJ Smuts and Ravindra Jadeja's manic sprint towards short third man after dismissing Jonathan Vandiar - were extremely charged up and none than Virat Kohli's release of emotion after India dismissed the South African wicketkeeper Bradley Barnes off the last ball of the match to win the World Cup by 12 runs.
So what happened? Was the aggression purely a pressure tactic because India were defending a low target in the adrenaline-filled atmosphere of a World Cup final? There was a bit more to it than that.
After South Africa had done exceptionally in the field to restrict India's powerful batting line-up to 159, Barnes apparently said during the innings break that South Africa were going to send India home empty-handed while they took the World Cup back with them. The Indians did not take too kindly to that and came out hard.
The next morning, Manish Pandey confirmed that words had been exchanged on the pitch and the Indians were talking to the batsmen throughout to put them under pressure while chasing a small target. The pressure of the run-chase, whether the aggression had anything to do with it or not, got to the South Africans and they fell short, sparking off more wild celebrations from the Indian camp.
Now both these teams have got along extremely well ever since India's tour to South Africa in December-January. They hang around together at the hotel and from my observations, they're probably the teams that get along best at the World Cup. Did last night's events sour relations?
The players were confident that it wouldn't. Vandiar said that the game had got heated but shrugged it off saying that it was only expected when the stakes were so high. South Africa, according to him, might have done the same if they were defending a low total. Vandiar says he's closest to Virat in the Indian team and there were no ill-feelings because "what happens on the field, stays on the field. I've been to Virat's room to catch up and we looked at each other's CDs".
Jadeja and Iqbal Abdulla were on their way to breakfast and they stopped by a table where Wayne Parnell and Yaseen Vallie were eating. They began to talk, and they continued for around 20 minutes and there was nothing amiss. Parnell even interrupted his breakfast to mimic Jadeja's left-arm action.
The South Africans were understandably disappointed at the loss, perhaps they were even angry at what happened on the field last night but it was pleasing to see that the players were still friends the next day. That's how cricket should be played. One would expect teenagers to be relatively immature and take offence at on-field skirmishes but on the other hand, perhaps the lack of proud egos makes it easier to get along at this age. It is how the sport should be played, unlike the example the senior international cricketers in India and Australia are setting.