How Sachin Dhas, Uday Saharan's record stand took India to U19 World Cup final | Cricket - Hindustan Times

How Sachin Dhas and Uday Saharan's record stand scripted India's miraculous turnaround to seal U19 World Cup final berth

Feb 06, 2024 10:10 PM IST

Riding on a record 171-run stand for the fifth wicket, between Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas, the five-time champions scripted a miraculous come-from-behind win.

Defending champions India faced their biggest challenge on Tuesday when South Africa speedsters sent them four down for just 32 runs in 11.2 overs in the U19 World Cup semifinal match at the Willowmoore Park in Benoni. However, riding on a record 171-run stand for the fifth wicket, between captain Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas, the five-time champions scripted a miraculous come-from-behind win. India, with their two-wicket victory, reached their fifth straight final, and ninth overall, and now await the result of the semifinal match between Australia and Pakistan.

Sachin Dhas and Uday Saharan now hold the record for highest 5th-wicket stand for India in U19 World Cups.
Sachin Dhas and Uday Saharan now hold the record for highest 5th-wicket stand for India in U19 World Cups.

India 4 down in 68 balls for 32 runs

India found themselves in deep water early in the chase of 245 in Benoni as the defending champions went four down in just 68 deliveries

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Kwena Maphaka bowled a practically unplayable delivery to dismiss India opener Adarsh Singh in the first ball of the innings. The batter was completely taken by surprise by the length ball that rose devilishly after pitching as he tried to fend it away, but ended up gloving it to the wicketkeeper.

Tristan Luus, who has a bowling action much like Dale Steyn, then had India's highest run-getter Musheer Khan in two minds with a back-of-a-length delivery outside off, which he eventually edged to the fielder at second slip, having initially wanted to run it down. He returned in the final over the powerplay to remove Arshin Kulkarni, who needlessly chased a wider delivery that wobbled away further, before dismissing Priyanshu Moliya in the 12th over.

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Across their league and Super Six matches, India never lost four wickets in the first 35 overs of a match, but the menacing South Africa fast bowlers, who made the most of their home conditions, had India four down inside 12 overs.

The miracle stand

Saharan was a mere spectator at the crease to three of India's first four dismissals. He struggled equally against the formidable South African pace unit, managing only 4 off 17 balls at the time of Moliya's dismissal. Yet there still was a sense of belief in him.

"I knew that we needed just one partnership and we could cross the line," he later said in the post-match interaction.

Saharan combined with Dhas, who led the charge in the partnership by keeping the run rate on track as the pair stitched an incredible 171-run stand, the highest-ever for India for the fifth wicket in U19 World Cups. It also the highest stand for the wicket in youth ODIs, as they broke the previous record of 161 between Bangladesh's Towhrid Hridoy and Shamim Hossain.

From 32 for four, India revived to stand 41 runs away from victory in 47 balls with the Saharan and Dhas smashing 16 boundaries and a maximum between themselves before Maphaka handed another tricky period to India. He struck twice in three overs to dismiss Dhas and Aravelly Avanish while Murugan Abhishek was run out as India went seven down with still 17 required to win.

However, Saharan maintained composure, absorbed the pressure and paced his innings accordingly alongside the tail. The skipper did lose his wicket in a hurried attempt to score the winning run, leaving him fuming, but Raj Limbani ensured that it did not last long as he struck a boundary in the very next ball to send India into the final.

Indian spinners chock South Africa in middle overs

It was an innings where South Africa struggled to find momentum for the larger part. After losing opener Steve Stolk and David Teeger inside the first powerplay, the hosts looked to settle down with wicketkeeper-batter Lhuan-dre Pretorius and Richard Seletswane stitching a 72-run stand for the third wicket, but it came off 22 overs. The South African top-order were troubled by India pacers Naman Tiwari (1/52) and Raj Limbani (3/60), who found considerable pace, bounce and carry at the Willowmoore Park in Benoni.

It was in the middle overs (10-40) when South Africa found it particularly difficult milking runs, as they managed only 116 runs during the phase when the Indian spinners put on the squeeze. Left-arm spinners Saumy Pandey (1/38) and Musheer Khan (2/43), along with off-spinner Priyanshu Moliya, shackled their intent of making progress in this phase with tidy line and length.

Pretorious, who notched up his third successive half-century in this tournament, looked to bring in some momentum as he smashed Moliya for a six over mid-wicket, but departed just as the partnership began to blossom. Seletswane, on the other hand, found himself stranded at 25 off 75 balls at one point after the dismissal of the opener, with the scoreboard almost at a standstill.

However, showing immense determination, Seletswane eventually turned things around to score 64. His late surge, followed by handy cameos from Juan James (24 off 19 balls) and Tristan Luus (23 off 12 balls) helped the 2014 champions amass 81 runs off the last 10 overs and put on a competitive total of 244 for seven.

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