India’s dominance in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Their title showdown with Australia on Saturday also turned out to be a one-sided one as India became the first team to win four World Cups. In every sense, it was a complete ‘team performance’ under the supervision of coach Rahul Dravid. Right from the first match, they had been in absolute control. Let’s trace India’s journey right up to their trophy success.
Playing Australia in their first match in Group B, captain Prithvi Shaw (94), Manjot Kalra (86) and Shubman Gill (63) combined beautifully to help the team demolish the opposition by 100 runs. Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi shared six wickets between them and put on view some serious pace, for which they found themselves under the spotlight.
The next two matches against Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe were again one-sided. Thanks to Anukul Roy’s 5/14, Papua New Guinea crashed to 67 all out, after which Shaw blazed an unbeaten 57 to take India to a 10-wicket win.
Roy continued his good show against Zimbabwe as a four-for from him helped India to another 10-wicket team as Gill (90) and Harvik Desai (56) made merry in their chase of 155.
Bangladesh were next in the line of fire and crashed to a 131-run defeat in the quarterfinals. Gill (86) and Abhishek Sharma (50) guided India to 265, after which Nagarkoti and Mavi did the rest sharing five wickets between them.
However, once it emerged that India will play arch-rivals Pakistan in the semis, a great many experts predicted that Shaw and Co. will find it tough getting past their neighbors. That’s not how it turned out though, as India steamrolled Pakistan in their 203-run win. Gill continued his rich vein of form and smashed his first ton of the tournament as India made 272. Another fast bowler in the team, Ishan Porel then ran through Pakistan as the team from across the border succumbed to 69 all out.
In the final on Saturday, India once again annihilated their opponents. Big stages call for big performances and Kalra (101 not out) rose to the occasion big time as Dravid’s charges made light work of the target and chased down 217 in just 38.5 overs with eight wickets in hand.
Gill, Player of the Tournament, in all made 372 runs and was the second highest scorer in the event behind West Indies’ Alick Athanaze (418). Shaw and Kalra contributed 261 and 252 respectively.
Roy, meanwhile, finished as the joint highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets. Nagarkoti and Mavi took nine wickets apiece.