U-19 World Cup final: Key players to watch out for
The Indian team will lock horns with the Aussies in the final of the Under-19 World Cup on Sunday at Townsville. While Australia, the defending champions are yet to lose a match in the tournament, the Indian batsmen haven’t clicked as a unit so far and they have made it to the final because of some superb bowling efforts from their bowlers. Here is a list of key players who can make a difference for both the sides:
Unmukt Chand: There will be huge responsibilities on the shoulders of India’s Under-19 skipper who has so far not delivered with the bat like most of his teammates. The experts have begun to compare his leadership skills with that of Virat Kohli, under whose captaincy India won the 2008 Under-19 World Cup defeating South Africa in the finals by 56 runs.
The stylish right-hander, who is supposed to play for the national side in the next few years, hasn’t risen to the occasion yet. Chand, who has plenty of strokes in his kitty, has so far scored just 135 runs from his five outings in the tournament with 78 against Zimbabwe being his best.
Baba Aparajit: He might not be well build like most of his teammates, but Baba Aparajit is someone who has made significant contributions to India’s journey to the final of the final.
He has proved to be a good all-rounder. He comes into bat at No. 3, where he has re-built a derailed innings on a number of occasions in this tournament. He has scored 138 runs, picked up four wickets and an economy of 3.71 and has taken six catches, the maximum in the tournament.
Only if he can prove his mettle one more time, there is no reason why Baba Aparajit will not get the pleasure to hold the Man of the Series trophy.
Prashant Chopra: As Indian batsmen continue to disappoint in the crucial tournament, Chopra is someone who has managed to the play a significant role by scoring most of the runs in India’s meager totals.
Prashant, with 172 runs, is the India’s highest scorer in the cup so far. The right-hander wasn’t in the original Indian squad and was included at the last moment after his Chandigarh-based fellow opener Mannan Vohra was injured.
Harmeet Singh: The bowlers often do not get the credit when it comes to the shorter format of the game, but Harmeet Singh is a key player for India Under-19 as he has defended India’s meager scores with his left-arm spin.
Singh also played a pivotal innings against Pakistan in the 3rd quarter-final. Chasing 136 to win, India were in a comfortable position at 120 for 5 needing 17 more, but within no time they were left struggling at 127 for 9. Singh who came in to bat at No. 8 added ten crucial runs for the last wicket along with No. 1 Sandeep Sharma to help their side snatch a cliff-hanger from arch-rivals Pakistan.
Harmeet also contained runs in an excellent spell where he gave just 20 runs in his quota of ten overs and also picked up a wicket. Harmeet hit the winning runs after which he was mobbed by his jubilant teammates.
Sandeep Sharma: The right-arm fast bowler has done his job to a great extent by getting crucial breakthroughs for his side. He has picked up eight wickets in the tournament so far and he has bowled extremely well with the new ball.
In the cliff-hanger against Pakistan, Sharma got India to a rollicking start as he dismissed two Pakistani batsmen Sami Aslam (0) and Imam-ul-Haq (0) in the first over of the innings. Later on, he came in to bat at No. 1 with India still needing tens runs for victory.
Sandeep who hails from Patiala, held his nerves with Harmeet Singh as he played 22 deliveries and it was his all-round performance which was one of the key factors why India managed to nab the thriller.
William Bosisto: The Australian skipper has done well with the bat in the tournament so far. He has managed to score 189 runs, 71 not-out being the highest against Bangladesh in the first quarter-final. Chasing 172 to win, the Aussies slumped to 33/4 after which Bosisto shared two crucial partnerships with Travis Head (44) and Ashton Turner (27*) to take his side to the semis.
The Australians are known for their aggressive approach in the crucial matches and thus the Indian team would be wary of the damage Bosisto can cause them.
Gurinder Singh Sandhu: Gurinder is the first Indian-origin player to wear the Aussie colours. The 19-year-old has been a revelation in the Australian domestic circuit.
He might be playing against India but that will not stop him from delivering the best for the Aussises. He has picked up 9 wickets so far and he is one of the key bowlers to watch out for the Indian squad.