August 28, 2012

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has lauded the India Under-19 team’s achievements in Australia, following their ICC Under-19 World Cup triumph, which saw them besting their hosts to lift the trophy for the third time in the tournament’s history.

“This is ultimate…to win the World Cup and that too in Australia where the wickets help the fast bowlers,” said Akram, lavishing praise on the young team. “I think they came out on top.”

Defending champions, the Australia Under-19s, were the most successful team in the history of the tournament, having lifted the trophy thrice (1988, 2002, 2010), whereas the India U-19s had only had the honour twice – in 2000 under the leadership of Mohammad Kaif, and in 2008 with Virat Kohli at the helm.

However, led by Unmukt Chand, India secured their third title win this year, making them the joint most successful U-19 team.

The India U-19s appeared to have adapted well to conditions in Australia, after emerging victorious from a Quadrangular Under-19 Series played Down Under in April this year. Their 2012 World Cup campaign also got off to a promising start during the warm-up matches, as they defeated both the Sri Lanka and Afghanistan Under-19s.

- U19 win for India

However, the first match of the tournament was far from successful, as Chand’s team conceded a 4-wicket defeat to the West Indies U-19s. Despite the loss, they managed to bounce back and win the remainder of their World Cup matches – notable among them a 1-wicket quarter-final victory over the Pakistan U-19s, followed by a 9-run win in the semi-final against New Zealand.

The India U-19s then went on to seal the tournament with a 6-wicket win (with 14 balls remaining) over the Australia U-19s in the competition final, played on August 26 at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville.

Having won the toss and chosen to field first, medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma claimed 4 for 54 to restrict their opponents to a final total of 225, before skipper Chand guided the team home. Tackling Australia’s bevy of fast bowlers with ease, he scored a match-winning, unbeaten 111, in addition to setting up a 130*–run partnership with Smit Patel (62*), which got their team safely over the finish line.

Courtesy: BETTOR.COM

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