India lose to West Indies in U-19 World Cup
Townsville (Queensland): Shoddy batting by top-order saw Unmukt Chand-led India U-19 side lose their opening World Cup match against the West Indies by four wickets here on Sunday.
On a slow track at the Tony Ireland stadium, the Indian colts could never get going as they were restricted to a paltry 166 for eight in their stipulated 50 overs.
Despite early hiccups, the West Indies team slowly but surely reached the target with 17 balls to spare. John Campbell (36, 70 balls, 1x4, 1x6) and Anthony Alleyne (52, 91 balls, 2x4, 1x6) added 58 runs for the third wicket to put West Indies on track while Alleyne and Kyle Mayers (43, 54 balls, 4x4,1x6) added another 58 for the fifth wicket to consolidate further.
It was India`s poor performance with the bat that led to this heart-breaking defeat. A lot depended on skipper Chand (22, 61 balls, 3x4) but he failed to get going as the track was not conducive for a free-flowing stroke player like him.
Left-arm medium pacer Jerome Jones (2/23), Ronsford Beaton (3/33) and Kyle Mayers(2/35) shared the bulk of the spoils between them. Losing three quick wickets in the first fifteen overs also pegged India back.
Prashant Chopra (1), Baba Aparajith (5) and the talented Hanuman Vihari (8) were dismissed cheaply as India were struggling at 34 for three. Chand followed suit as he edged one to keeper Sunil Ambris off Mayers`s bowling as India were left tottering at 50 for four.
Zol (26, 52 balls,1x4) and wicket-keeper batsman Smit Patel (51, 99 balls 5x4) then added 41 runs for the fifth wicket while Patel and Akshdeep Nath (19, 32 balls) added a further 44 runs for the sixth wicket as India managed to cross the 150-run mark.
The Indian bowlers started in right earnest as seamer Sandeep Sharma (2/27)sent back the West Indies skipper and Test opener Kraigg Braithwaite (4) and his opening partner Sunil Ambris (4) early. He managed to move the ball both ways on a helpful track. His first spell figures read 5-2-5-2.
With limited options in the seam bowling department, the Indian team could not press on and the skipper Unmukt Chand had to introduce the spinners as early as the 12th over.
But, the left-handed pair of John Campbell and Anthony Alleyne brought the chase back on track with an important 58-run partnership. Just when it appeared that West Indies would finish the match without further damage, two quick wickets by left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh(3/35) managed to put brakes on the scoring rate.
Indian spinners Harmeet and other left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra (1/39) managed to tighten their stranglehold on a slow pitch and did not allow West indies to run away with the match.
But, half-centurion Alleyne conjured another vital partnership of 58 runs for the fifth wicket with all-rounder Kyle Mayers taking them closer to the target.
The Indians managed to prize out both the set-batsmen but it was too late by then. Akeal Hosein (11) and Justin Greaves (5) made sure the West Indies finished the match without further damage.
Indian skipper Unmukt Chand later, blamed the below-par batting for the loss. "Our batting didn`t do well today. The wicket supported the bowlers. It was seaming. We`ll take many positives out from this match."
Praising the spinners of the team, Chand said, "Our spinners have been doing well. We thought they`ll succeed on this wicket. Credit to our bowlers for the way they bowled and fought back."
The Indian colts will take on Zimbabwe in the next encounter on August 14.