Tauranga: India and Australia have locked horns in ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup finals at the Bay Oval in Tauranga on Saturday. So far, both sides have won the championship thrice making it a fair match
Till now India is the only unbeaten side in the tournament with the win over Australia being their lowest margin of victory. They are considered as a balanced side with the Shubman Gill-led batting line-up and a potent fast bowling attack giving captain Prithvi Shaw several options as they look to add a fourth title to the ones India won in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
On the eve of the match, India captain Prithvi Shaw said he was comforted by the fact that the fast bowling attack had been doing well right from the first match.
“Whenever the team`s needed them, they (fast bowlers) have provided the breakthroughs. They`re ready whenever I ask them to bowl. They`ve good intensity as well, their fitness is great as well. All of them . Kamlesh (Nagarkoti), (Ishan) Porel, (Shivam) Mavi. It helps us all have a good attitude in the field, we`re all really pumped up when our fast bowlers do well.Shaw was not bothered that the batting line-up had not been tested enough, with the openers getting solid starts in all but one of five matches, including two century partnerships, and number three batsman Gill aggregating 341 runs at an average of 170.50, including one innings as opener.
“I have confidence that even if we get one partnership, we can take charge of the match and take the score to 250-300. If you look at our match against Australia too, we put up a good total, even though we lost a couple of wickets after an early partnership. The middle order also controlled the innings well,” he said.
Jason Sangha said his team was looking to seize the initiative against India as the team looks to add a fourth title to the ones won in 1998, 2002 and 2010.
“The 100-run loss does not bother me at all. A grand final is a different contest. It`s a different pitch, different nerves. They`ve played good cricket but if we get a couple of early wickets and put pressure on their players, anything can happen.
“We wouldn`t say we are underdogs. We are not the favourites, but at the end of the day we are Australia, we are our own team, India are their own team. We are a side that can beat any team if we play well. We`ve grown by leaps and bounds since our first match,” he said.
Australia have had big moments too with their bowlers producing the two best performances till date in the tournament. Fast bowler Jason Ralston took a tournament record seven for 15 against Papua New Guinea and then leg-spinner Lloyd Pope bettered that with eight for 35 in a dramatic low-scoring quarter-final against England in Queenstown.Though Ralston had to return home due to an injury, captain Sangha feels there is a lot of sting in their bowling attack.
“They (India) have not been tested too much, especially the middle-order. We are a different side, and playing some really good cricket. I don`t think there are any nerves, all the guys are quite excited,” he said.This is the fifth time that Australia have made the final of the tournament. India are playing the final for the sixth time, including in the last edition in 2014, when they lost to the Windies.