Osbourn: Skipper Yash Dhull gave a glimpse of his rare talent with a well-paced hundred that led powerhouse India to its fourth consecutive U-19 World Cup final with an emphatic 96-run victory over Australia here.
Dhull hit a superb 110 in as many balls, then split a game-changing 204 run score with his substitute Shaik Rasheed (94 from 108 balls) to blast India to a formidable 290 for five after opting to bat on Wednesday.
Indian bowlers then executed their rolls to perfection to knock out Australia for 194 in 41.5 overs. Lachlan Shaw’s penalty 51 came too late in the day for Australia.
Pacers Rajvardhan Hangargekar (0/26) and Ravi Kumar (2/37) were impressive in the first power play before spinners Nishant Sindhu (2/25), Vicky Ostwal (3/42) and Kaushal Tambe (1/32) dominated the opposition about in the middle.
Record four-time champions India will face England in the final on Saturday and will look to extend their dominance in the competition.
Dhull became the third Indian captain to hit a hundred in tournament history, following the illustrious Virat Kohli (2008) and the wonderful Unmukt Chand (2012), also from Delhi.
“Me and Rasheed’s plan was to bat to the end, and it worked. It’s a proud moment (to be the third Indian captain to score a U19 World Cup ton),” Dhull said after the game.
“The idea was to hit steady, not try too many shots, and skip past the 40th. Myself and Rasheed go well together, we combine well and it showed.”
India, the most successful team in tournament history, was hit by COVID-19 at the start of the competition, losing players like Dhull and Rasheed for two matches, but the depth in the squad saw them sail to the knockouts.
Chasing a record target, Australia lost their in-form opener Teague Wyllie cheaply, with Ravi Kumar trapping him for his first legitimate ball with a late inswinger into the righthander.
Campbell Kellaway (30) and Corey Miller (38) forged a smooth 68-run tie before perishing in a six-ball space, leaving Australia at 73 for three.
Left-arm spinner Ostwal took a return catch for his second wicket to make it 119 for six in 30 overs, closing the door to the opposition.
Dhull was impressive not only with the bat, but also with his captaincy. He introduced part-time ofie Raghuvanshi to left-arm spinners. Raghuvanshi made the breakthrough by trapping Miller.
Previously, India chose to put runs on the board after winning the toss, knowing it wasn’t the easiest roll to save.
Australian pacers threw well in the first power play and the fact that Indian openers Angkrish Raghuvanshi (6 out of 30) and Harnoor Singh (16 out of 30) were also overtly cautious helped them build the pressure.
William Salzmann shook Raghuvanshi’s off-stump with a beauty that came right after the pitch.
Harnoor, failing to live up to the high expectations he had set for himself, attempted to pull a rising ball onto Tobia Snell’s leg stump, then returned it to the wicketkeeper, leaving India at 37 for two in the 13th over.
India’s two best hitters, Dhull and Rasheed, then got together to help the team out of trouble.
Rasheed and Dhull only played their third game of the tournament after missing two due to COVID-19, showing maturity beyond their age to build the innings.
Dhull got lots of runs square and behind the square with agile late-cuts-off spinners being one of his favorite shots.
Rasheed, whose first frontier was a direct drive from the air, finished with eight fours and a six.
The straight six he hit on Jack Nisbet late in his innings took him into the 90s. His punch through Salzmann’s cover was the most attractive shot he played.
The highly regarded Dhull once again played a superb knock. The field was on the slower side, but he turned the blow at his leisure before speeding up to pick limits at will, collecting a total of 10 fours and a six.
He came down to three numbers with a two in the 45th and the next ball was a pull-shot from Tom Whitney for the second six of the innings.
Following Dhull’s departure, Rasheed was unable to make the creditable hundred after being caught on a back end at Nisbet.
Australia was sloppy in the field through the innings. Rasheed was dropped at 24 and missed an easy run-out opportunity from Dhull who hit at 74.
With two sets of batters in quick succession, the flow of the innings was somewhat disrupted before Nishant Sindhu (12 out of 10), Dinesh Bana (20 out of 4 balls) and Rajvardhan Hangagekar (13 out of 10) came in with the big shots in the death overs.
Australia leaked a whopping 108 runs in the last 10 overs, with the 50th over bowled by Tom Whitney for 27.
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