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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

India batters Pak - enters finals of U19 Cricket World Cup 2020

Against an attack led by Varun Aaron, once regarded as one of the fastest bowlers in the country and veteran left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem,  this lad smashed 12 sixes and 17 fours on his way to breaking South African Alan Barrow’s record of being the youngest to notch up a double ton in List A cricket.  .. .. .. ~ and today he made a ton !

Many a times, the draw could be lop-sided.  For today’s Semifinal clash at Potchefstroom between India Pakistan, the teams had different hardship routes.  India beat Srilanka by 90 runs; beat Japan by 10 wicekts, beat New Zealand by 44 runs and beat Australia by 74 runs.  All big wins – against 3 strong teams.  However for Pakistan, it was all easy. First they beat Scotland by 7 wickets, beat Zimbabwe by 38 runs, the match against Bangladesh was washed out, beat Afganisthan by 6 wickets – literally not one strong team.

Potchefstroom is an academic city in the North West Province of South Africa.  It is situated on the banks of the Mooi river (Afrikaans for "pretty (or beautiful) river"), roughly 120 km (75 mi) west-southwest of Johannesburg.  The town, founded in 1838 by the Voortrekkers, is the second oldest settlement of people of European descent in the then Transvaal.  In October 1840, it was decided that Potchefstroom would unite with "Pieter Mouriets Burg" (Pietermaritzburg) ~ does that name sound something to you ?

A few decades ago, Ashok Mankad would bring in unknown players for Mafatlal / Nirlons and would win Buchibabu tournament by sheer batting performance.  Mumbai has always produced classy batsman – Vijay Manjrekar, Vijay Merchant, Chandu Borde, Ashok Mankad, Dilip Sardesai, Ajit Wadekar, Salim Durrani, Ramnath Parkar,  Sunil Gavaskar, Farokh Engineer, Eknath Solkar,  Dilip Vengsarkar, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar, Praveen Amre, Amol Majumdar, Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Wasim Jaffer, Rohit Sharma,  Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw  … and … more … and the latest sensation in that list could well be ‘ Yashasvi Bhupendra Kumar Jaiswal’.   ~ he is in news today.

I had written at length about him a few months back.  Vijay Hazare Trophy, the Ranji One-Day Trophy, that was started in 2002–03 as a limited-overs cricket domestic competition involving state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates is now on. It is named after the famous Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare.  Tamil Nadu is the most successful team having won the trophy 5 times.  17 year old  Yashasvi Jaiswal became the youngest man to hit a List A double-century, finishing with finishing with 203 in 154 balls against Jharkhand in the  Vijay Hazare Trophy. The Mumbai opener was the second to double up this season after Sanju Samson made history a week earlier , scoring 212 not out. Karn Veer Kaushal's had scored  202 for Uttarakhand against Sikkim last season.   Of the nine double-tons in List A cricket by Indian batsmen, five have come in ODIs: three by Rohit Sharma, and one each by Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Those aside,  Shikhar Dhawan made 248 for India A against South Africa A in Pretoria in 2013.

Opening the batting against Jharkhand in Alur with Aditya Tare, Jaiswal outscored his more experienced partner as the two put on 200 runs for the first wicket in 34.3 overs.   Jaiswal first came in the spotlight during the Under-19 Asia Cup in Dhaka in October last year, when he scored a 113-ball 85 in the final as India beat Sri Lanka by 144 runs. His achievement is all the more laudable given the face of adversity ! ~ media reports suggest that his background is very poor and he struggled a lot in his life.

Today in the 1st Semifinals of U19 Cricket Worldcup, Pakistan, who opted to bat, seemed on course for a respectable total as their opener Haider Ali and captain Rohail Nazir put on a half-century stand for the third wicket. The duo helped Pakistan recover from 34 for 2 in the ninth over, but Haider fell soon after reaching his fifty while trying to cut part-timer Jaiswal.  India's two quicks Sushant Mishra and Kartik Tyagi did most of the damage - sharing five wickets between them - while legspinner Ravi Bishnoi finished with two from his 10 overs.

Having been deflated with a collapse of 6 for 26, Pakistan Under-19 could pose no challenge to the India Under-19 opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Divyaansh Saxena, who shared an unbeaten stand of 176. Jaiswal reached his first hundred in the tournament with a six to seal India's win while Saxena remained unbeaten on 59. The score card reads : India Under-19 176 for 0 (Jaiswal 105*, Saxena 59*) beat Pakistan Under-19 172 (Nazir 62, Haider 56, Mishra 3-28, Tyagi 2-32, Bishnoi 2-46) by 10 wickets with almost 15 overs to spare and enter the finals for the 3rd straight time.

Now if you remember that Q at the start on –Pietermaritzburg- : it is  the capital and second largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It was founded in 1838 – its purist Zulu name is umGungundlovu. This is popularly translated from the Zulu as "Place of the Elephant", although it could also be translated to mean "The elephant wins". Pietermaritzburg is  to be remembered for the incident that occurred early in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. On 7 June 1893, while Gandhi was on his way to Pretoria, a white man objected to Gandhi's presence in a first-class carriage, and he was ordered to move to the van compartment at the end of the train. Gandhi, who had a first-class ticket, refused, and was thrown of the train at Pietermaritzburg. Shivering through the winter night in the waiting room of the station, Gandhi made the momentous decision to stay on in South Africa and fight the racial discrimination against Indians there.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th Feb 2020.

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