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News

Prest rues early collapse: 'All it would have taken was one more partnership'

England's captain says he "couldn't be prouder of the boys and all their efforts" following his team's runners-up finish

James Sales made an important double breakthrough, India vs England, Under-19 World Cup final, North Sound, February 5, 2022

'I felt we bowled really well, we didn't bowl much loose balls, and it was backed up in the field as well with some great fielding' - Tom Prest  •  ICC/Getty Images

Halfway through the Under-19 World Cup final, England were confident they could still win, despite only having put up 189. Tom Prest, their captain, had the belief that his bowling attack could defend that total.
"We've bowled really well throughout the tournament," he said. "We thought if we could take some early wickets, get their middle order in early and really put some pressure on… then Josh Boyden taking a wicket in the first over kind of filled us with confidence.
"But yeah, at half-time I thought we'd done really well to get up to 189 from where we were, [thanks to] James Rew's effort. It's not often that you get to play in a World Cup final. That's enough motivation as it is to scrap for every ball and defend every run as best as we could."
As it turned out, India survived a few hiccups to chase down their target and claim their fifth Under-19 World Cup title. Despite the loss, Prest said England could feel proud of the tournament they played, and for being the first side from his country to reach an Under-19 final since 1998.
"It's obviously pretty tough to take, losing in a final, but we've done amazingly just to get here," Prest said. "It's taken 24 years to get to a final. I couldn't be prouder of the boys and all their efforts, right from the group stage. We've put in some amazing performances, but unfortunately we couldn't just do one more."
India seamers Ravi Kumar and Raj Bawa ran through England's top order to leave them gasping at 61 for 6 and then 91 for 7, but Rew's innings of 95 and an unbeaten 34 from No. 9 James Sales dragged England to a total of 189. A bit more solidity at the top, Prest suggested, could have led England to a defendable total.
"The way James Rew and James Sales came in, I think they put on close to a hundred or maybe even just over [93]," he said. "All it would have taken was one more partnership, really, earlier on in our innings, and if we had got to 230 it would have been really interesting."
Prest was proud of the way his bowling unit fought, and kept India on their toes through most of the chase. "I think we actually did really well, restricting the run rate," he said. "It felt like they were almost digging themselves a hole, really, that first partnership [between Harnoor Singh and Shaik Rasheed for the second wicket]. They chewed up quite a lot of balls - we felt, just a couple of wickets and we were well in the game.
"Rasheed obviously played really well, but then we got the key wicket of him and then we got Yash Dhull as well out, fairly soon after. Once we got those two quick ones the game kind of changed, and they had to rebuild again. I felt the bowlers, all of us, we bowled really well, we didn't bowl much loose balls, and it was backed up in the field as well, with some great fielding."
Asked for his highlight of England's tournament, Prest picked the tense semi-final win over Afghanistan.
"I think that win in the semi-final against Afghanistan, that was an incredible feeling, to get to a World Cup final," Prest said. "There was a lot of pressure at the back end there, and the bowlers really stepped up, so we did really well to come through that, and yeah, get to play in the final today. That's probably my highlight."