India lifted the U-19 World Cup trophy for the record fourth time on Saturday, beating Australia by 8 wickets.
India had managed to dismiss Australia for 216 runs, even when the Aussies were 183/4 at one stage. The highly-rated Indian batting, barring a minor blip, completed the job with conviction as India chased down the modest target in 38.5 overs.
Delhi-boy Manjot Kalra emerged as the man for the big occasion, scoring a sublime 101 not out off 102 balls and anchoring the innings after the loss of skipper Prithvi Shaw and team’s leading scorer in the tournament, Shubman Gil.
Having lost skipper Shaw (29) and Gill (31), Kalra displayed commendable calm and composure to see the team through. Harvik Desai (47 not out) provided the support Kalra needed after India were 131 for two in the 22nd over, with victory just 86 runs away.
Kalra hammered the spinners for huge sixes and showed he was completely in command, finishing with eight fours and three sixes.
He touch a century in the last over of the final. Desai hit the winning boundary, sending the team members and the packed crowd into a frenzy.
Earlier, Jonathan Merlo made a solid 76 before the India’s left-arm spin duo of Shiva Singh and Anukul Roy sprung into action, limiting Australia to 216.
At 183 for four, Australia looked well on course to reach 250 in a high-pressure match until the Indian spinners engineered the collapse with the Sangha-led side losing its last six wickets for 33 runs.
Australia, who had little hesitation in batting first, could not hold on to big partnerships.
With a fourth crown, India surpassed Australia in the race of most U-19 World Cup titles. Prior to the final, India and Australia were locked at three titles each.
The team’s performance was also a fitting tribute to coach Rahul Dravid, who finally got his hands on a World Cup trophy. Under Dravid, the side had finished runner-up in the 2016 edition in Bangladesh.
India’s previous title came in Australia six years ago when the Unmukt Chand-led team beat the hosts in the final.
The Virat Kohli-led side was victorious in 2008 and Mohammed Kaif was captain when India triumphed way back in 2000.
(With inputs from agencies)