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ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup final: India’s middle order not that strong - Jason Sangha

Australia skipper Jason Sangha has said India’s middle order has not been tested enough ahead of the key clash in the final of the ICC under-19 cricket world cup to be played in Mount Maunganui.

cricket Updated: Feb 02, 2018 15:36 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
ICC under-19 cricket world cup,Under-19 Cricket World Cup,India vs Australia
Australia lost to India by 100 runs in the league stage of the ICC under-19 World Cup but skipper Jason Sangha is confident that the team can exploit India’s middle order that has not been tested. (ICC Getty Images)

Jason Sangha, the Australian under-19 world cup skipper, has said India’s middle order has not been tested enough and has banked on his bowlers to provide some early breakthroughs in the final of the ICC under-19 World Cup match on Saturday.

“They probably haven’t been tested too much; especially their middle-order. They have not seen our side now compared to the first game, we are a different side playing good cricket. Plus, they have not seen our two quick bowlers (Ryan Hadley and Zak Evans) they didn’t play in the first game,” Sangha said.

Sangha’s comments echo coach Ryan Harris’ deduction that the Indian middle-order has not been challenged enough in this competition. However, Prithvi Shaw, the Indian skipper brushed aside Sangha’s remark and added the middle order had chipped in at vital times

“If you look at our match against Australia, we put up a good total, even though we lost a couple of wickets after an early partnership. The middle order also controlled the innings well,” Shaw had said.

Different contest’

Australia head into the final slightly on the back foot having lost their league game against India by 100 runs at the same venue. However, Sangha said the final had a different dynamic altogether.

“They have played good cricket, so have we at the moment. It’s a grand finale, a different contest. There’s different pitch, definitely some nerves in their team as well,” Sangha said, recalling Australia’s win over England in which they had reduced them from 47/0 to 96 all-out.

When asked if Australia have specific plans to stop the Indians, Sangha said, “India are a good team, so are we. We have plans for some of their batsmen. We have a couple of ideas but when you are actually out there on the field, it could be totally different sometimes.”

Unstoppable India

Shubman Gill (341 runs) and Anukul Roy (12 wickets) have been at the forefront of India’s march into the final, but it is the opening pair of Shaw and Manjot Kalra who have been devastating.

With stands of 180 (v Australia), 67* (v Papua New Guinea), 155* (v Zimbabwe), 16 (v Bangladesh) and 89 (v Pakistan), Shaw and Kalra have shown impeccable skills at the top.

Following them is Gill, who has scored at least a half-century every time he has come out to bat. With scores of 63, 90*, 86 and a splendid 102* versus Pakistan in the semifinal, Gill is making this tournament his own.

Batting has been for long considered India’s forte, but what has taken the opponents by surprise is the searing pace of Indian troika in Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Ishan Porel. Making most of conditions, the Indian fast bowlers have turned up the heat.

“Good on him”, said Sangha over Nagarkoti’s 145kmph scorchers. “It does not bother us”.

Australia are wary

Unlike India, who have a player each in the list of top five run-scorers as well as wicket-takers, Australia do not even have any in top 10. But Sangha remains defiant.

When asked whether Australia are the ‘underdogs’ for Saturday’s final, Sangha replied, “I don’t feel we are the underdogs, or India the favourites. Whoever plays the best will win.”

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 13:45 IST