ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup: 19 reasons why India conquered the world | cricket | Hindustan Times
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ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup: 19 reasons why India conquered the world

Rahul Dravid-coached India made history as they became the first team to win the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup four times, defeating Australia by eight wickets in the final at Mount Maunganui on Saturday

cricket Updated: Feb 04, 2018 09:02 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
India's team poses to celebrate its victory in the Under-19 cricket World Cup final against Australia at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.
India's team poses to celebrate its victory in the Under-19 cricket World Cup final against Australia at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.(AFP)

India was one run away from the ICC Under-19 World Cup title. Skipper Prithvi Shaw and team-mates were impatiently waiting to charge on to the field. It was an overflow of emotions in Tauranga as the winning boundary was hit. Shaw and his teammates roared in glee. Some players plucked the stumps while others tackled centurion Manjot Kalra to the ground.

When the trophy was presented, the happiness and roar in the Indian camp represented a great end to a perfect campaign -- India scaled the summit, clinching a record fourth title with an eight-wicket win over Australia.

Here are the 19 reasons why India conquered the world.

1) The legend of Rahul Dravid

With almost 25,000 runs in Tests and ODIs combined, India’s U-19 boys got as mentor a man known for his grit in tough situations, one who knew how to get the best out of the youngsters.

2) Reaching early in New Zealand

To acclimatise to conditions in New Zealand, India reached two weeks in advance and played three warm-up games. This was vital in India’s dominant run.

3) Establishing a winning habit

From the 2016 World Cup till 2018, India won the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, defeated England 3-1 at home and whitewashed them 5-0 away. This gave the side great momentum.

4) Winning by big margins

Victories by 100 runs, 10 wickets twice, 131 runs, 203 runs and eight wickets -- India showcased their supreme confidence in each game.

5) Consistent openers

With opening stands of 180, 67, 155, 16, 89, and 71 in the final, Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra always laid the base to dictate terms to the opposition.

6) Shubhman Gill’s consistency

With scores of 63, 90, 86, 102*and 31 at No 3, Shubhman Gill (372 runs at an average of 124) was the X-factor. His efforts built on the great opening starts of Shaw and Kalra.

7) Abhishek Sharma’s all-round contributions

The 17-year-old rescued India from a tricky situation in the quarter-final against Bangladesh. His 50 off 49 balls helped reach 265 and his 2/11 off five overs sealed the contest.

8) Kamlesh Nagarkoti – Speed demon

The 2018 edition saw the rise of India’s future fast bowlers, symbolised by Kamlesh Nagarkoti. The 18-year-old regularly touched 145kph and proved a handful for batsmen.

9) Porel, Nagarkoti, Mavi – economic trio

India’s three pacers shared 24 wickets. Porel took six wickets at an economy rate of 3.56. Nagarkoti and Mavi took nine wickets at 3.48 and 4.12 respectively, and the trio’s discipline made a difference.

10) Anukul Roy – Mid-overs champ

With 14 wickets at an average of 9.07, Anukul Roy was the leading wicket-taker. His consistent strikes in the middle-overs never allowed the opposition to gain momentum.

11) Shiva Singh – King in final

Left-arm spinner Shiva Singh’s 2/36 in 10 overs triggered an Australia batting collapse. His economy rate of 3.23 in six games allowed India to choke the opposition in the middle overs.

12) Bowlers who could field

Nagarkoti and Mavi not only bowled with pace, but threw themselves around in the field. India’s fielding reached a whole new level due to the athleticism of their bowlers.

13) Ishan Porel’s knock-out punch

The tall pacer, retained in the side after an injury early on, took no wickets until the semi-finals. But he took 4/17 against Pakistan and two early wickets against Australia in the final.

14) Focus Dravid-style

During the knock-outs, IPL auctions were approaching. Dravid urged the team to stay focused, saying, “There is an auction every year, but opportunity to play in a World Cup semi-final does not come often.” The discipline showed.

15) Kalra’s intent in final

Kalra targeted the best bowler in the Australia line-up, leg-spinner Lloyd Pope, who took 8/35 against England in the quarter-final. Smashing him for 13 runs in his first over swung the balance in India’s favour.

16) Middle order passes the Test

Aussie skipper Jason Sangha had said India’s middle order had not been tested. Dismissals of Shaw and Gill put a little pressure, but Harvik Desai’s 47 not out at No 4 and his 89-run stand with Kalra ticked that box as well.

17) Fearless cricket

In the past, India would be intimidated by Australia. This time,India had no fear, and like a well-oiled unit they demolished the three-time champions in the league stage and final.

18) What pressure

In past encounters, there would be plenty of tension around an India vs Pakistan game. This time, India showed they no longer feel the pressure, thrashing their arch-rivals by 203 runs.

19) Shaw – leading from the front

His field placements were proactive and bowling changes were spot on. With an average of 65 at the top, the India captain’s all-round contributions defined his leadership qualities.