India won the U-19 Asia Cup for the third time in a row on Friday (Dec 23), beating Sri Lanka by 34 runs in the final after the hosts suffered a stunning collapse. Himanshu Rana (71), Shubham Gill (70) and captain Abhishek Sharma (4/37) were the chief architects of the victory.
Brief scores: India 273/8 (Himanshu Rana 71,
Chasing 274 for victory, the island nation appeared comfortable at 196 for three in the 38th
Sri Lanka began their chase in some style, scoring 27 runs in the first three overs. Although they lost Vishva Chathuranga early, it did not appear to hamper the momentum as they raced to 75/1 in 10 overs.
Sharma decided to bring himself into the attack and was rewarded almost immediately as he claimed Hasitha Boyagoda for 37. However, Reven Kelly and
If was only after the fall of the third wicket that India began to exert some pressure on Sri Lanka’s chase. Sharma returned to the attack and sent Mendis packing for 53 – which proved to be the turning point as the hosts were eventually bowled out for 239.
Earlier, India had followed the same pattern as the middle and lower middle order failed to capitalize on a good start. A string of wickets at the death meant that the defending champions were restricted to 273/8.
Prithvi Shaw played well for his 39 but failed to convert it into a big score. Rana, who struck a hundred in the semi-finals, continued his good form as he scored a fifty to put India in the driver’s seat. Rana and Gill (70) shared in an 88-run stand.
Sri Lanka, however, struck late, with Praveen Jayawickrama and Nipun