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U-19 World Cup: Rishabh Pant’s ton propels India into semis

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U-19 World Cup: Rishabh Pant’s ton propels India into semis

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Arun S Kaimal

02/06/2016

After scoring the fastest fifty in the Under-19 World Cup history in the last group match against Nepal, Rishabh Pant smashed 111 off 96 balls to guide India to a 197-run victory against Namibia to enter the semi-final of the 2016 ICC U-19 World Cup at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah today.

Brief Scores: India 349/6 in 50 ov (Rishabh Pant 111(96), Sarfraz Khan 76(76), Armaan Jaffer 64(55), Fritz Coetzee 3/78) beat Namibia 152 all-out in 39 ov (Niko Davin 33(30), Mayank Dagar 3/25, Anmolpreet Singh 3/27) by 197 runs

Having won the toss, India U-19 captain Ishan Kishan decided to bat first on a batting-friendly track at the Fatullah. However, the skipper didn’t made much of the opportunity to get some runs under his belt falling cheaply to Coetzee. With the skipper back in the pavilion, Rishabh Pant and Anmolpreet Singh steadied the innings and stitched together a 103-run partnership for the second wicket to put India in a healthy position.

Anmolpreet fell for 41 off 42 balls to Niko Davin’s leg break, but India’s run rate remained above the six-run mark with Sarfraz Khan joining Pant to heap more misery on the Namibian bowlers. Pant, who fetched a Rs.1.90 crore bid from Delhi Daredevils in the IPL auction, scored a boundary off Davin in the 26th over to complete his first hundred in the tournament off 82 balls.

The wicketkeeper departed slowly after his hundred, but with the platform already set for a huge score, Sarfraz Khan and Armaan Jaffer took India past the 250-mark with a 98-run partnership. But it was Mahipal Lomror’s 21-ball 41, which included three sixes, in the last five overs that pushed India’s score to 349/6.

Chasing a mammoth 350, Namibia started brightly with openers Niko Davin and SJ Loftie-Eaton taking the team past fifty in the first nine overs. However, Davin’s search for a boundary outside the off-stump found him inside-edging the ball back to the stumps to send Rahul Batham into an animated celebration.

Namibia’s hopes of achieving the target went up in flames as soon as the spinners came into action with Washington Sundar striking with his fifth delivery. From 80/1 in the 16th over, Namibia lost nine wickets for 72 runs with left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar and right-arm off-spinner Anmolpreet Singh picking six wickets among themselves to hand a 197-run defeat to their rivals.

India will face the winner of the quarterfinal between England and Sri Lanka on February 9.

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