Uday Saharan's India no match as Australia cruise to fourth U19 World Cup title
Led by Uday Saharan, India's unbeaten run came to a screeching halt as Australia beat them to win the U19 World Cup 2024.
India's dreams of becoming six-time Under-19 World Cup champions were dashed by Australia as they cantered to their fourth title with a dominating 79-run win in a rather one-sided final. After setting India a record 254 to win – 253/7 is the highest total in an U19 World Cup final – the Australian pacers steamrolled Uday Saharan's brigade of youngsters, blowing them away for 174 with Mahli Beardman's 3/15 and Raf MacMillan's 3/43 leading the way.
India's chase simply never took off. After losing Arshin Kulkarni in the third over, Adarsh Singh and Musheer Khan tried to steady the innings with a 37-run partnership but the fact that they took 10 overs in doing so forced India to play catch up. Once Musheer and captain Uday Saharan to Beardman in quick succession, it was Australia vice-captain Raf MacMillan who wrecked the Indian middle and lower order to wrap up the formalities.
Australia's innings was all things opposite. Like India, they too had lost their opener cheaply – Sam Konstas falling to Raj Limbani for a duck – but they chipped away with crucial partnerships throughout. Two of their most consistent batters – Harry Dixon and captain Hugh Weibgen – contributed with 42 and 48 respectively – while Harjas Singh peeled off a half-century aided wonderfully by Oliver Peake's unbeaten 46. Limbani's 3/38 were the best figures by an Indian but they weren't enough to stop the Australian juggernaut.
Indian innings rocked
For India, Musheer got a decent start cracking a few boundaries but a pacey delivery from Beardman that kept a tad low crashed into his stumps. Hopes were pinned on Saharan, the tournament's leading run-scorer but he could muster all of 8 off 18 balls before cutting to his counterpart at point. At that point, it was clear that India wouldn't pull off a repeat of a Saharan-Sachin Das' partnership, and all doubts were put to rest when Sachin edged MacMillan off his first ball of the match. Adarsh tried with an innings of 47 and Murugan Abhishek's 42 off 46 balls including five fours and a six shepherded a commendable lower-order fight but it was all too late.
With this win, Australia have now won the last four ICC World Cups, with the senior men's team winning the World Championship and the 50-over World Cup, to go with the Women's World Cup. Australia's Under 19 batch of 2024 now joins the class of 1988, 2002 and 2010.
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