The fifth one-dayer of a series that has been won 3-1 already is usually a dull affair. However, at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday, the young colts of India and England fought till the very end as the match ended in a tie with a wicket off the last ball to add on to the drama.
With one run required off the last ball, No 10 Ishan Porel holed a tossed up delivery straight to short mid-off as India Under-19 missed their fourth consecutive win of the series ever so narrowly.
After putting up their second highest total in Under-19 history in the last game at the same venue, it was a poor batting display by the hosts, who were reeling under pressure at 137 for seven before gritty knocks from Ayush Jamwal (40) and Yash Thakur (30) reignited hopes for the paltry home crowd.
Electing to field first after winning the toss, it was a good start by India who sent back both the England Under-19 openers within the first eight overs and capitalised well to take wickets at regular intervals.
Ayush Jamwal (3-40) was the pick of the bowlers while Porel returned figures of 2-25 in his nine overs. George Bartlett (47 off 59 balls) tried to up the ante by going for a few big shots but was trapped in front by Shiva Singh.
With Delray Rawlins (17) falling cheaply once again, Ollie Pope (45) and Will Jacks (28) reignited England’s hopes before getting out in quick succession to leave the job half-done.
It was sensible cricket from there on by the England Under-19 tail as they tried to play out the remaining overs without taking too many risks and finding the odd boundary every now and then.
India had a poor start to their campaign losing Priyam Garg (0) and captain Abhishek Sharma (4) inside the first five overs. To add on to the misery, Arthur Godsal then removed Manjot Kalra (21) and Mayank Rawat (1) in successive overs to leave the hosts at 54 for the loss of four wickets.
With pressure mounting on, it was S Radhakrishnan’s (65) timely knock that bailed the team out of the trouble. Radhakrishnan, who had just played the tour match before this game, grabbed the opportunity well and stuck to basics in his 93-ball knock.
His wicket was a huge morale booster for the visitors but just when it seemed that the rest would follow suit under pressure, Jamwal and Thakur played those exceptional knocks.
Jamwal got out trying to pull one over long leg but with the momentum back in the hosts’ favour, India still had hopes to pull off the chase. However, that wasn’t to be as Liam Patterson White successfully defended six runs off the last over.
India had made nine changes to the side from the team that won the fourth one-dayer, keeping coach Rahul Dravid’s rotation policy in place. He, however, was a happy man and wasn’t bothered about missing out on the victory after coming so close.
“They are young boys and these games are a part of the learning process,” he said. “Obviously, you do get nervous but it was a great game of cricket. I’m really happy. Even the England team played well.”