With the ICC Under-19 World Cup about 40 days away, Indian Colts continued their good run winning the U-19 Asia Cup in Sharjah on Saturday. The Vijay Zol-led outfit outwitted arch-rivals Pakistan by 40 runs in the final.
Zol (100, 120b, 7X4, 2x6) and Sanju Samson (100, 87b, 8x4, 4x6) were the stars of India’s win in a high-scoring clash while spinner Kuldeep Yadav picked up three for 72 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Batting first, India posted 314 for eight in 50 overs before restricting Pakistan to 274 for nine. For Pakistan, Kamran Ghulam (102*) and Sami Aslam (87) were the main contributors.
Talking to dna from Sharjah, India U-19 coach Bharat Arun praised his team for the show in the big match. “The boys did really well in the final. Especially, the senior players Zol and Samson came up with their crucial knocks at the right time.”
Arun was also impressed with the way the youngsters handled the pressure against Pakistan. “They played with aggression. But with controlled aggression. And that is the key to success. The youngsters played with heads on shoulders and rose up to the challenge during this important game,” he said.
The coach was especially happy with India’s show on the field. “The most important aspect of the team was the fielding. They were outstanding. Bowlers were very good, but the fielders excelled,” he said.
India have played four tournaments in the last one year and have won them all including the Asia Cup. Arun said that the victories will give players confidence.
“Winning the tournaments gives them the belief. They have stuck together throughout last one year and the victories have been a motivating factor,” he said.
So is the team peaking early?. “I guess it is not about peaking. It is about consistency, which is the biggest challenge. We have peaked at the right time and the players will take a lot of confidence from here. As far as the World Cup is concerned, we are going to start from the scratch,” Arun added.
Brief scores (Final): India U-19 314/8 in 50 overs (V Zol 100, S Samson 100; Z Haq 2/56, K Ali 2/78) beat Pakistan U-19 274/9 in 50 overs (S Aslam 84, K Ghulam 102; K Yadav 3/72, A Gani 2/39, C Milind 2/44) by 40 runs
Indian boys’ unbeaten run at Asia Cup
Group A: Beat UAE by 189 runs
Group A: Beat Nepal by 9 wickets
Group A: Beat Pakistan by 2 wickets
Semifinal: Beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets
Final: Beat Pakistan by 40 runs