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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Cricket

Zol, Samson hit tons as India beat Pakistan to claim U-19 Asia Cup
Anand Sachar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 04, 2014
First Published: 20:03 IST(4/1/2014)
Last Updated: 08:58 IST(5/1/2014)

The colourful cricket rivalry between India and Pakistan means every triumph over each other is cherished, even if it is at the under-19 level. Thus, when the India colts overpowered their neighbouring counterparts on Saturday in the U-19 Asia Cup final in Sharjah, a feeling of ecstasy overrode the boys in blue.

The victory tasted even sweeter because over the past 18 months, almost every game between the junior rivals has been fought tooth and nail.

In the last four encounters, Pakistan have won a game by one run (Asia Cup 2012) and another by two wickets (Asia Cup 2013). While the previous Asia Cup final in 2012 was tied, India knocked Pakistan out of the 2012 U-19 World Cup in the quarterfinal with a one-wicket win.

Pressed to recall, which of the games stand out, India captain Vijay Zol was quick to mark out the latest conquest.

"Despite all the close encounters, today’s (Saturday’s) win stands out by a distance because it was a win in a high-pressure final," Zol told HT from Sharjah.

"Also, this win has given us confidence to believe that we are surely ready for the (U-19) World Cup."

"The game was like a war. The atmosphere was unmatched. The win is amazing," spinner Kuldeep Yadav told HT, after India’s 40-run victory.

With just one fifty in four games for Zol, the onus was on the skipper to step-up and deliver in the crunch game. Faced with a similar situation was the promising Sanju Samson. But like players who thrive on the big stage, the duo struck centuries to set Pakistan a 314-run target that proved too much.


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