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Sunday, February 9, 2020

India loses the finals of ICC U19 World Cup 2020

Salem has got a new attraction - SCF Cricket Ground at Kattuveppilaipatti near  the Shevaroy Hills.  Lush vegetation cradling the sides en route and the arrays of palm trees in the vicinity add splendour to the green outfield. Located at a distance of nearly 25 kms from the Salem town, the ground with a play area of 90 meters is the biggest in the State and accommodates five turf wickets. The facility also features 12 practice-turf wickets, players pavilion and press box.  Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami,  inaugurated the ground.  Many Ministers and Cricketer Rahul Dravid were present.

Down Under, the legends turned it on, the fans came in droves, and the Bushfire Cricket Bash achieved its chief purpose – raising more than $7.7m for the communities devastated by the fires that have ravaged Australia for months. On Sunday afternoon at Melbourne's Junction Oval, cricket royalty – and a smattering of footy legends – came together for a cause that has united the country across the summer, while also touching every corner of the cricket globe.

That was evident in the presence of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh, Yuvraj Singh and Wasim Akram. Greats of the game, all of them, and they delivered, too.   In between innings, Tendulkar faced an over from Ellyse Perry and Annabel Sutherland (three balls apiece).  Then the run chase began. Shane Watson bullied Wasim and co with a spectacular 30 from nine balls. Gilchrist hit his first ball for six – standard for the three-time World Cup winner – before being knocked over by Aussie Rules great Luke Hodge.

Anyway, Bushfire Cricket Bash legends match was only a fund-raiser and the real winners were those impacted by Australia's bushfires across a devastating summer.  Back in South Africa, there was scintillating Cricket.  50 Over International World Cup Finals of ICC U19 World Cup. 

India has played immaculate Cricket in U19 World cups  and in last 3 World Cup, they have lost only one match – 4 years back to West Indies in the Finals – today the youngsters faltered – cannot blame them.  It was quality innings by Yashasvi Jaiswal, who scored 88 runs, took a brilliant catch, fielded so well and took a wicket too.  Ravi Bishnoi, appeared to be winning the match singlehandedly taking 4 wickets but perhaps after 6 overs, the field setting made him bowl more defensively. 

Earlier batting first India made a very sedate start.  After seeing Saxena toss his wicket away, Jaiswal watched No.3 Tilak Varma cop a fierce throw on the unprotected part of the knee and collapse onto the ground. Varma, though, shook the blow off and shored up India's innings with a 94-run stand for the second wicket.  The score card would not reveal the fascinating day’s play.  It reads :  Bangladesh Under-19s 170 for 7 (Emon 47, Ali 43*, Bishnoi 4-30) beat India Under-19s (Jaiswal 88, Das 3-40, Islam 2-31) by three wickets (via DLS method)

Yashasvi Jaiswal once again showed his class and his path to future, cracking 88 off 121 balls. After Jaiswal's dismissal, India panicked so much that at one point Dhruv Jorel and Atharva Ankolekar were running towards the same end and competed with each other in putting their bat down. After many sort of inconclusive replays,  it was Jurel, who was adjudged  run-out for 22 off 38 balls. His dismissal then set in motion an Indian collapse of 21 for 7 in 7.4 overs.  The fall of wickets tells the story. 1-9 (Divyaansh Saxena, 6.4 ov), 2-103 (Tilak Varma, 28.6 ov), 3-114 (Priyam Garg, 31.3 ov), 4-156 (Yashasvi Jaiswal, 39.5 ov), 5-156 (Siddhesh Veer, 39.6 ov), 6-168 (Dhruv Jurel, 42.2 ov), 7-170 (Ravi Bishnoi, 43.5 ov), 8-170 (Atharva Ankolekar, 44.1 ov), 9-172 (Kartik Tyagi, 44.6 ov), 10-177 (Sushant Mishra, 47.2 ov)

In pursuit of 178, Bangladesh started very well, were 50 without loss at one stage, then suffered  a similar collapse, losing 6 for 52, as both the sides seemed to be passing the trophy to each other. Dropped catches, fumbles, overthrows, over-the-top appeals, and some verbal jousting added to the drama of the 2020 Under-19 World Cup final. As expected,  rain made an appearance as well, leaving the sides scrambling for DLS calculations. After the weather cleared, the target was adjusted to 170, and Bangladesh needed seven off 30 balls with three wickets in hand. [from 17 odd runs, it came down to just 7 off 30 balls !]

Captain Akbar Ali and No.9 Rakibul Hasan rose above all the chaos upon resumption and coolly led Bangladesh to their first-ever ICC title at any level. It was Hasan who struck the winning runs, when he stepped out and launched the Under-19 Asia Cup hero Atharva Ankolekar over midwicket. The celebrations that followed were  crazy ~ to say the least.

So Bangladesh have now won the World Cup – they are the Champions in U19 Cricket.  Well played Indians – Priyam Garg and team, specially Jaiswal, Ravi Bishnoi, Thyagi .. .. …

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Feb 2020.

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