India, Aus lock horns in U19 CWC final
Brisbane, August 25: A classic final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012 is on the cards when reigning world champion Australia takes on two-time former winner India in front of ESPN STAR Sports’ HD cameras at Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville at 9:30 am local time on Sunday.
Australia won the event in 1988, 2002 and 2010, and is not only bidding to win its fourth title but also to become only the second side after Pakistan to win back-to-back titles (2004 and 2006). However, Unmukt Chand will be aiming to become the third India captain to put a hand to the trophy after Mohammad Kaif and Virat Kohli lifted the cup in 2000 and 2008, respectively.
Australia has been in good form in this tournament and is the only unbeaten side to date. In the first round, it defeated England by six wickets, Nepal by 212 runs and Ireland by six wickets, before overcoming Bangladesh by five wickets in the quarter-final and South Africa by four wickets in the semi-final.
In contrast, India made a sluggish start to the tournament when it lost to the West Indies by four wickets before qualifying for the Super League stage by defeating Zimbabwe by 63 runs and Papua New Guinea by 107 runs. In the Super League quarter-final, India beat Pakistan by one wicket and then defeated New Zealand by nine runs.
The two sides have previously met three times in ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, with Australia winning twice and India once. Overall, there is nothing to choose between the two sides as both have won 14 matches apiece in the tournament’s history.
The two sides last met in April this year at the same venue in the quadrangular series final. In this game, India successfully chased down a 195-run target to beat Australia by five wickets with 44 balls to spare.
Will Bosisto, who has scored 189 runs in the tournament so far, said his boys were raring to play in the final. “All the boys are rapt and ready to go for Sunday. Obviously, it is pretty exciting for us to be in a final. There will be lots of people watching us on TV and at the ground so it is a big occasion for us,” he said.
Bosisto said playing India is the final will be a big challenge. “India has strong top-order batting, and the five bowlers it has are really consistent. It will be a tough challenge for us.
“India has been much like us in a way as it has managed to get over the line without perhaps playing its best cricket. So, it will be a great challenge for us on Sunday.
“We have played India a fair bit over the past year or so, but I don’t think we can read too much into past results. The conditions are probably a little bit different than they were in April and we have a few changes to our side as have they.”
Chand, who won the player of the match award for his 112 not out when the two sides last meet four months ago, said his side was used to the conditions in Townsville and hoped for a strong performance in the final.
“I am very optimistic about the final. We have played Australia in Australia and that too at the same venue. We are used to the conditions, and should do well,” said Chand, who is yet to produce his best batting performance, having managed just 135 runs so far in the event.
“The team has peaked at the right time. We did not start well in the competition, but the teamwork can be seen now. It is not that one or two players are carrying the side on their shoulders. Everybody is contributing, and that is why we are in the final.
“I had always visualised qualifying for the final and playing Australia in the same. Australia is a good side, and so are we. The summit clash should be a competitive encounter. We will do our best to return home with the Cup,” added Chand.
Surprisingly, no batsman from either side figures in the list of top 16 run-getters. Cameron Bancroft with 194 runs is in 17th position and Bosisto is 19th, while India’s Prashant Chopra with 172 runs is 23rd and Vijay Zol with 150 runs is 33rd on the table.
With the ball, India’s Ravikant Singh has bagged 11 wickets and Kamal Passi has claimed 10 wickets, while Ashton Turner with 10 wickets and Gurinder Sandhu with nine wickets are Australia’s leading wicket-takers.
Teams (to be selected from):
Australia: Will Bosisto (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Meyrick Buchanan, Shane Cassel, Harry Conway, Alex Gregory, Sam Hain, Travis Head, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Jimmy Peirson, Gurinder Sandhu, Mark Steketee, Nick Stevens and Ashton Turner.
India : Unmukt Chand (captain), Baba Aparajith, Prashant Chopra, Sandipan Das, Akhil Herwadkar, Rush Kalaria, Vikas Mishra, Akshdeep Nath, Kamal Passi, Smit Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Harmeet Singh, Ravikant Singh, Hanuma Vihari and Vijay Zol.
On-field Umpires – Richard Illingworth and Ranmore Martinesz
Third Umpire – Johan Cloete
Fourth Umpire – Chris Gaffaney
Match Referee – Roshan Mahanama