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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

U19 World Cup - India and New Zealand reach Semis in contrasting styles

As I circulated to you earlier, India has beaten Pakistan in the QF of the U19 World Cup presently underway at AustraliaIndia would meet New Zealand in the Semi Finals on 23rd August 2012.  The other Semi finals is between Australia and South Africa

At Townsville, 18 runs were required off the last over which was bowled the big burly Justin Pierre Greaves.  The 19 year old Inderbir Singh Sodhi was at the crease and only the optimist was expecting something to happen.

The first ball Sodhi got a four; then a single, third was a leg bye; 4th hoisted for a six, 5th a brace and up for the classical finish – 4 off the last delivery……. Will he – he did hit a four winning the match for the country….   The  had started reasonably well for West Indies, though it did not end well. Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Sunil Ambris put on 48 for the opening wicket. Brathwaite (53) and Akeal Hosain (54) both contributed half-centuries;  West Indies were able to bat out their overs and posted a challenging 237 when the last batsman was run out from the final ball of the 50th over.

If you have not bee following the games closely, this was about the New Zealand win, yes Inder Sodhi, born in Ludhiana plays for Auckland and now for New Zealand.

            At Townsville, in the other QF between traditional opponents,  it was a close finish of a totally different kind.   India dismissed their opponents for a paltry score and then made a heavy weather of the chase, almost choking before the final pair displayed tremendous grit, determination and the will to succeed……… all that from  Harmeet Singh and Sandeep Sharma, India's Nos. 8 and 11, India had a disastrous start with 3 falling with 8 on board; then  were cruising one minute, at 120 for 5 needing 17 more, and were sinking the next, at 127 for 9. Harmeet and Sharma, however, saw to it that their consistent excellence with the ball in this tournament - they dismissed Pakistan so cheaply - was not in vain.  Earlier Aparajith displayed steely nerves playing the sheet anchor and Vijay Zol making some fluent runs. 

A friend who saw the match in the dying stages called it torture as the batsmen blocked without any hurry  - even when it was within a stroke, Sandeep did not do anything silly but waited till Harmeet made those runs.   The whole team sprinted to the field in jubilance, to wish the heroes who had shown to the top order batsman what they should have done.  Sandeep struck with his first delivery and was there when the winning run was made.   

Nobody would ever have imagined a partnership of 10 that too coming in seven overs in a limited overs contest could be crucial and match winning.   A Win against Pakistan - much cherised as it always is.

In the first Semis, defending champions Australia moved closer to retaining the Under-19 World Cup as they beat South Africa in the first semi-final at Tony Ireland Stadium. Their bowlers made best use of winning the toss, restricting South Africa to 191by striking regularly on an overcast morning, and their batsmen overcame a difficult start to complete the chase in the 49th over.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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