Australia crowned U19 world champions
The team from Down Under beats India by 79 runs in Benoni to bag the honours for the fourth time
As if their dominance in the late nineties and noughties was not enough, the Australian cricket teams have built another chapter of supremacy.
Australia beat India by 79 runs at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Sunday to be crowned the ICC U19 World Cup champions for the fourth time since 1988.
The youth global showpiece title became the fifth ICC trophy to be added to the Aussie cabinet since 2022 after the senior men’s World Test Championship, Men’s Cricket World Cup and the Women’s T20 and ODI World Cups.
Chasing 254, the highest total in an U19 World Cup final, India openers Arshin Kulkarni and Adarsh Singh struggled with the Australia pace attack of Callum Vidler’s and Charlie Anderson’s line and length in the early stages.
With continuous pressure mounting from the bowling end, Kulkarni eventually succumbed to Vidler’s perfect outswinger to be caught behind by Ryan Hicks for three runs.
Singh and Musheer Khan proceeded cautiously for the third wicket partnership of 37 before player of the tournament nominee Khan was knocked over by Mahli Beardman for 22.
Beardman collected another big scalp in India skipper Uday Saharan for eight.
Things went from bad to worse for India as their hero from the semifinal Sachin Dhas (9) did not trouble the scores much either, leaving India 68/4 after 20 overs.
Adarsh Singh tried to rescue the Indians’ shambolic start but wickets kept tumbling at the other end.
Priyanshu Moliya (9), Aravelly Avanish (0) as well as the stubborn Singh (47) all fell in quick succession.
With India 115/7 after 30 overs, the writing was on the wall. The Australian bowling attack ripped through India’s lower order of Raj Limbani, Murugan Abhishek and Saumy Pandey with ease as they bowled out the Asians for 174 with six overs left.
The Australians scored 253/7 after skipper Hugh Weibgen won the toss and elected to bat first.
Left-hander Harjas Singh top-scored with 55 off 64 balls for the Aussies. The 19-year-old, who was born in Chandigarh, contributed a cameo that included three fours and three sixes against the country of his birth.
Aussie openers Sam Konstas and Harry Dixon got the day off to a fast start with Dixon taking 15 runs off Naman Tiwari’s first over before Konstas was bowled by Indian strike bowler Raj Limbani for a duck.
Dixon and Weibgen helped Australia to 45/1 for the first power play as they manoeuvred their way through a tricky Indian spin attack. The watchful pair added 78 runs for the third wicket before Weibgen got a thick edge off the bowling of Tiwari and was caught at backward point by Khan for 48.
Dixon (42) quickly followed to the dugout and became left-armer Tiwari’s second victim of the day.
Singh and Hicks rebuilt for Australia with a patient stand of 66 off 68 balls and helped their side progress at a healthy run rate. Hicks (20) was trapped leg before wicket by Limbani with 15 overs to go. Singh, who had scored just 49 runs in the tournament, notched up his maiden half-century of the 2024 edition. But his joy was short-lived as he was trapped lbw by Saumy Pandey.
Raf MacMillan had a brief stay at the crease, being caught and bowled by Khan for two.
With the Australians in need of a flurry of runs in the last 10 overs, Ollie Peake’s positive intent helped his team craft their total past 200. They added 66 off the last 10 overs.
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