ICC U-19 World Cup | Manjot Kalra century guides India colts to their fourth World Cup title

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ICC U-19 World Cup | Manjot Kalra century guides India colts to their fourth World Cup title

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Divya Sahu

02/03/2018

Indian colts, riding on a superb Manjot Kalra century, have beaten Australia by 8 wickets to secure their 4th U-19 World Cup title. Earlier, batting first, Australia could only post a total of 216 runs thanks to a brilliant 76 by Jonathan Merlo, but as it turned out, it was not enough.

Brief Scores: Australia 216 in 47.2 overs (Jonathan Merlo 76, Ishan Porel 2-30, Shiva Singh 2-36) lost to India 220/2 ( Manjot Kalra 101*, Harvik Desai 47; Will Sutherland 1/36) by 8 wickets

Indian spinners restrict Australia to a sub-par total

In the overcast conditions at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, Aussie captain Jason Sangha opted to bat first in order to take the benefit of the flat batting deck and although Max Bryant and Jack Edwards started the innings on a positive note, the former, trying to crunch an Ishan Porel length ball through the off-side, found Abhishek Sharma at cover to give their first wicket. Edwards, on the other end, however, continued to play his strokes, but his ambition to lead the team to a good score was nipped in the bud by Porel as this time, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, standing at cover, took a brilliant catch to reduce the Australians to 52/2. Nagarkoti further dented the Aussies with a ball that was angled into Jason Sangha and straightened just a bit to which Sangha couldn't keep his bat out and ended up nicking it to Harvik Desai behind the stumps.

After finding them at 59 for 3, Australia were in a desperate need of denying India any further wickets and realizing that, Jonathan Merlo and Param Uppal took it upon themselves to forge a partnership of 75 runs. The duo did well against the left-arm spin bowling of Shiva Singh, Anukul Roy, and Abhishek Sharma and reverted back to back-foot play while Merlo also executed sweeps and reverse-sweeps to a good effect. When it seemed like an innings-defining partnership was starting to build, Roy used his pace variations to break the stand. Nathan McSweeney did provide some fireworks and build a stand with Merlo before departing to the left-arm spin of Shiva Singh and that dismissal opened the floodgates as Australia folded out for 216 in 47.2 overs.

Kalra stars as India become four-time champions

A chase of 217 was supposed to be a straightforward one for the Indian team, especially because of the form that the team have found themselves in. The openers - Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra - stood tall to build a 71-run partnership. The duo were especially brilliant on the off-side and used the pace of the ball to score runs freely. However, against the run of play, Shaw played a Will Sutherland ball inside the line and that crashed into the off stump. Shubman Gill, coming in at No.4, hit some gorgeous fours to get going, but trying to stepping out of his crease to drive against the turn, Gill was castled by Uppal for 31 and that gave the Aussies a slim hope to make a comeback in the game.

However, Kalra kept his zen and continued the good work with the company of wicket-keeper Harvik Desai. While Desai only rotated the strike, Kalra made sure that he went for big hits and never let India go out of the reach. His wrist play was brilliant, but the way he hit those drives would surely make the man in the charge of the team, Rahul Dravid, proud. At the same time, the Australians’ lack of intent was also visible as they didn’t even try to chase for the balls once that went past them. Taking the benefit of the same, Manjot completed a memorable century and in the process, also guided India to their fourth U-19 World Cup title.    

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