Led by Raj Bawa’s all-round performance, India beat England by four wickets in Antigua on Saturday to secure their fifth ICC Under-19 World Cup title. India chased down the tricky 190-run target with only 14 balls to spare, courtesy expert half-centuries from Shaik Rasheed and Nishant Sindhu in the low-scoring encounter.
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Electing to bat after winning the toss, England struggled to find momentum in their innings. The pace duo of Raj Bawa and Ravi Kumar kept striking at regular intervals to trouble the English. After skipper Tom Prest was cleaned up for a second-ball duck by the left-arm seamer, James Rew waged a long battle for the English while Bawa kept chipping in with wickets.
After they were reduced for 91 for 7 in the 25th over, Rew resurrected the England innings with a fighting 93-run partnership in the company of No. 9 James Sales, who played an able hand with an unbeaten 65-ball 34. Rew’s 116-ball 95, in turn, pushed England towards a competitive total. However, what could have been a 230-240 score ended up being sub-200 one as Rew fell to Rana in the 44th over – caught superbly by a diving Kaushal Tambe in the deep. Rana returned figures of 4 for 34 as England lost their last three wickets for five runs.
In response, India too didn’t have the most fluent of batting performances, but their cause was helped by multiple strong partnerships that they managed to stitch along the way. After losing opener Angkrish Raghvanshi for a second-ball duck, their chase was steadied by a 49-run stand between Shaikh Rasheed and Harnoor Singh, before the latter departed caught behind. Rasheed, however, went on to stroke his second successive half-century, and in company of captain Yash Dhull pushed India to a steady position around the half-way mark of their innings.
However, James Sales struck in successive overs to remove both the set batters and reduced India to a tricky 97 for 4. England found a way back into the contest, but Bawa and Sindhu seized that momentum back in India’s favour with a 67-run stand – the highest of India’s innings. Bawa fell for a watchful 35, but Sindhu helped India over the line with an unbeaten half-century.
Dinesh Bana finished India’s chase with two consecutive sixes in the 48th over, bowled by Sales, to help India overhaul England’s total.