ALL OVER- India enter World Cup final: Shubman Gill and Ishan Porel came up with crucial performances to help India beat Pakistan and seal a place in the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup. Gill’s unbeaten ton helped India reach 272 for 9 before Porel landed the knockout punch early on in the chase. Rattled early on, all Pakistan could manage was just 69 – their lowest score in Under-19 World Cup – to slip to a 203-run loss.
Opting to bat, India got off to a solid start. Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra scored 89 for the opening wicket inside 16 overs to put Pakistan under pressure. Pakistan, to their credit, created several opportunities but failed to grab them. Kalra was dropped twice and survived a run out chance while Shaw was run out after he had survived two.
For India’s chances, it was crucial they didn’t allow Shaheen Afridi to come into the game. The batsmen did well to see him off and that only created more desperation in the opposition camp. Once Shaw was dismissed in the 16th over, Muhammad Musa had Kalra caught behind two overs later for 47. Harvik Desai and Gill took the team forward before Pakistan fought back with quick wickets.
India were cruising at 148 for 2 when Desai edged one to the ‘keeper off Arshad Iqbal. The pacer helped Pakistan claw their way back in the game as Riyan Parag and Abhishek Sharma too fell cheaply. With the team wobbling at 166 for 5, Gill collaborated with Anukul Roy to steady the innings. Roy played the perfect second fiddle as Gill played cautiously to keep the Pakistan bowling at bay.
India lost wickets in a cluster towards the end as well but Gill picked up the scoring rate to reach his century in the final over. He also became the first player to score a century in the Under-19 World Cup game between India and Pakistan going past Salman Butt’s record of unbeaten 85 in the 2002 clash. Gill’s century was also the first by an Indian batsman in this edition as he went past Shaw’s score of 94 scored in the opening encounter against Australia.
Having let the momentum slip away, Pakistan were under tremendous pressure. Their bowling had been doing the job and in a crucial clash they now had to tackle the scoreboard pressure. Porel though had other ideas. Shivam Mavi created pressure from one end and Porel picked up the wickets. Mavi had three maidens from his first four overs as Porel managed to knock over four wickets to leave Pakistan tottering at 28 for 4.
While Pakistan failed to grab the chances presented to them, India were exceptional on the field with their catching. With wickets tumbling, the runs dried up as well. The scoring rate struggled to go past three per over helping India to boss the game. From 28 for 4, Pakistan nosedived to 45 for 7 and not long after crashed out of the tournament.