Kuala Lumpur: An unbeaten 109 by Vijay Zol almost sealed a sensational victory for India before they fell short by just one run against arch-rivals Pakistan in a nerve-wrecking match of the Under-19 Asia Cup cricket tournament on Sunday.
Chasing a stiff 288 for victory, the Indians could manage 286 for seven in their stipulated 50 overs despite Maharashtra batsman Zol`s 119-ball 109 not out and his three fifty-plus partnerships with skipper Unmukt Chand (49 off 78 balls), Akshdeep Nath (42 off 28) and Rush Kalaria (30 off 16).
India needed 17 runs for a win from the last over bowled by Mohammad Nawaz and they were on course after hitting a six and two fours in the first, third and fifth balls.
India needed two runs for a win from the last ball but to the horror of the Indian camp, Mohsin Sayyed failed to score a single run, just driving back to the bowler.
The 17-year-old left-handed Zol, who hit nine fours and a six during his stay at the crease, was left stranded.
Kalaria had a good outing with both the bat and ball and it was due to his four-wicket haul that India managed to restrict Pakistan to 287 after opener Sami Aslam set the tone with a 149-ball 121 with the help of 15 fours and a six.
Sent into bat, Pakistan lost Babar Azam in the second over to Mohsin Sayyed. But Aslam`s 213-run stand for the second wicket with Imam-ul-Haq (88 off 97) brought them right back into the match at the Kinrara Academy Oval.
India didn`t get off to a good start Akhil Herwadkar and Baba Aparajith within the first 10 overs.
However, Zol along with Chand shared an 88-run stand for the third wicket to revive India`s innings. After Chand`s dismissal to Akhtar Waheed, Zol found an able ally in Nath who hit four fours and three sixes during his enterprising knock.
It was however Zol`s 51-run stand with Kalaria that brought India within sniffing distance of victory.
But Kalaria`s dismissal to Mohammad Nawaz in the last over turned the tide in Pakistan`s favour.
India are in the second place in the Group A standings behind table-toppers Pakistan.