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INDIAN JUNIORS CLASH WITH AUSTRALIA IN WORLD CUP FINAL, EYE HISTORIC 6TH TITLE

It’s another opportunity for the Indian team to beat Australia in a World Cup final! India U-19 boys have set up a World Cup title clash with the junior boys from Down Under which seems a repeat of the recent ODI World Cup final between the senior sides. Indian youngsters have performed exceedingly well all through the competition and have not lost a single game in their march to the final. Also, the top 3 run scorers of the championship are Indian batters who have been excellent in high-pressure situations. Now, the final hurdle remains on Sunday when the Indian boys will push for a record 6th title in Benoni in South Africa.

The final will also be the third ICC title clash in a row for the two countries. Australia had the better of the senior team in last year’s World Test Championship final and the ODI World Cup final. Indian fans will hope that the young guns will make it a ‘third time lucky’ for TeamIndia. In fact, Indian juniors won the last U-19 title clash between the two sides to lift the trophy in 2018.Going by the statistics and performances so far in the World Cup, experts feel India will hold the edge over their Australian counterparts in the final.

The Indian juniors, led by Uday Saharan, have showcased remarkable consistency throughout the U19 Cricket World Cup. They are standing on the brink of emulating the success of past champion sides led by the likes of Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand, Prithvi Shaw, and Yash Dhull. The Sunday clash will be India’s 5th successive appearance in the finals of the U-19 World Cups.

The team’s success is attributed to solid performances in all three departments of the game. The top and middle-order, featuring Saharan, Musheer Khan, and Sachin Dhas, have been instrumental with the bat. The three batters are among the top five run-scorers. Captain Uday Saharan leads the chart with 389 runs, followed by Musheer Khan with 338 and Sachin Dhas with 289 runs. Indian batting has ensured that win margins in the league games have been huge and the bowlers have not been put under too much pressure.

Besides the batting, Indian fielding and bowling have also been shining. In the field, the team has displayed sharp skills, with Abhishek Murugan the stand out fielder. India’s bowlers too, both pacers and spinners, have been among the wickets, with notable contributions from Raj Limbani, Saumy Pandey and Naman Tiwari.

Saumy is also the thirdhighest wicket-taker with 17 scalps while Naman, the left-arm pacer, has been impactful with 10 wickets in the tournament. He cited India’s star and the number 1 bowler in the ICC Test rankings, Jasprit Bumrah, as a source of special inspiration and how over the years he has learnt a great deal watching Bumrah operate on the field and by interacting with him in NCA.

India’s journey to the final has been marked by convincing victories. The team started with an 84- run win against Bangladesh. Subsequent triumphs against Ireland and hosts USA showcased their dominance. In the Super Six stage, India comfortably defeated New Zealand and Nepal, setting up a semi-final clash against South Africa. India managed to win by 2 wickets to enter the finals but not without a close shave. The Proteas had put up 244 and at one stage India was tottering at 32 for 4. But the middle order duo of Saharan and Dhas not only stitched a 171-run partnership but kept pace with the required run rate. Ultimately, India reached the finals winning the game with 7 balls to spare.

The opponents in the summit clash, Australia are also a strong team too and have entered the finals after a thrilling one-wicket victory over Pakistan in the semis. The road to the finals has been a dominating one for the Aussies who scored victories against Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka in the group stage. Their success continued in the Super Six stage with a notable win over England. The semi-finals proved to be a nail-biter as Australia narrowly clinched a onewicket victory against Pakistan, securing their spot in the finals.

A potential face-off between India and Pakistan in the championship match would have added to the historic rivalry, recalling their only previous U19 World Cup final clash in 2006, where Sarfaraz Ahmed led Pakistan to victory against a team featuring future stars like Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja. As the cricketing world eagerly anticipates the U19 World Cup final, India’s young talents aim to etch their names in history, seeking not only victory but the realization of a collective dream.

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL

Siddhaarth Mahan The writer is a specialist on Sports and Cinema who works as an actor in the Hindi film industry

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