India punch ticket to fifth-straight ICC Under-19 World Cup final after thrilling win over hosts South Africa

By Sports Desk February 06, 2024
Uday Saharan of India celebrates following the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup South Africa 2024 Semi-Final match between India and South Africa at Willowmoore Park on February 06, 2024 in Benoni. Uday Saharan of India celebrates following the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup South Africa 2024 Semi-Final match between India and South Africa at Willowmoore Park on February 06, 2024 in Benoni.

The clash between unbeaten India and hosts South Africa lived up to its billing in the first semi-final of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024.

In a thrilling contest that went down to the wire, India secured a hard-fought victory, thanks to outstanding half-centuries from Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas. 

Saharan's team will now have the chance to defend their title in the final on Sunday, 11 February.

India now await the winner of the second semi-final match between Australia and Pakistan on Thursday to see who they will face in the title clash.

India beat South Africa by 2 wickets in Benoni

South Africa 244/7 (50) vs India 248/8 (48.5)

After losing four tosses in the first four games, Uday Saharan got it right for the second in a row and chose to field first. This was the first time that India bowled first in the tournament, having batted in each of their five victories so far.

Once again displaying his customary aggression in the tournament, South Africa opener Steve Stolk took charge early on, hitting two fours in the first three overs. He continued his onslaught with a maximum off Raj Limbani in the fifth but it was the Indian pacer who had the last laugh as Stolk's attempted cut resulted in an edge straight into the hands of the wicketkeeper.

Lhuan-dre Pretorius kept the foot on the pedal thereafter, including a six and a four against Naman Tiwari in the 8th over. At the other end though, Limbani was on the money and accounted for the wicket of David Teeger for a duck, rattling the stumps with a peach of an inswinger.

Undeterred by the loss of two wickets, Pretorius continued playing attacking shots, and by the end of the Powerplay, South Africa were going close to a run-a-ball.

Saharan decided to introduce his spinners into play, effectively curbing South Africa's scoring – only five boundaries were scored in the span of overs 11 to 30.

However, the partnership between Pretorius and Richard Seletswane ensured a steady flow of runs, with Pretorius reaching his half-century off 59 balls.

With the run-rate at less than four, the mounting pressure got to Pretorius, who tried to swat Musheer Khan over mid-wicket, but Murugan Abhishek showed brilliant reflexes to hang on to a stunning catch.

The Proteas saw an uptick in boundaries when Seletswane and Oliver Whitehead combined for a 45-run partnership. Just as the partnership started to look dangerous, Musheer struck with the final ball of his spell, dismissing Whitehead.

South Africa’s decision to delay the entry of the dangerous Dewan Marais proved unsuccessful as he holed out to Saumy Pandey inches inside the boundary for just 3.

Between the two wickets, Seletswane brought up a patient half-century but having taken 90 balls to get to the milestone, the youngster fell trying to make up for the scoring rate.

Having hit Limbani for two fours in the 45th over, Seletswane tried to take the attack to Naman Tiwari in the next, but was undone by a good catch by Priyanshu Moliya running in from the deep.

Juan James too departed after a solid 19-ball 24-run cameo, leaving South Africa at 221/7 with two overs to go.

Tristan Luus gave the innings some much-needed impetus in the final two overs, unleashing two sixes and a four to finish with an unbeaten 23 off 12 balls. 

As a result, South Africa set India a target of 245. This was the first time a team had got past the 200-run mark against India in the tournament so far.

In the chase, South Africa started brilliantly, courtesy Kwena Maphaka's breakthrough on the first ball of the innings. Adarsh Singh found himself helpless against a sharp bouncer, awkwardly prodding it to the keeper.

The short ball proved to be India's downfall once more as Tristan Luus' accurately-directed bouncer outsmarted the dangerous Musheer Khan, sparking massive celebrations in the South African camp following the dismissal of the leading run-scorer in the tournament.

India had to be patient, waiting until the seventh over for their first boundary, which came in the form of a maximum from Arshin Kulkarni off Maphaka. Unfortunately, that solitary moment of joy for India was short-lived, as their difficulties continued to mount with Arshin falling victim to Luus in the final over of the Powerplay.

India's situation worsened when Moliya, who had managed to strike a boundary off the first ball of Luus' over, departed while attempting a loose drive.

Facing a daunting situation at 32/4, captain Saharan and Sachin Dhas orchestrated a remarkable rescue mission with an impressive partnership. With runs drying up, the pair mixed caution with aggression to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Particularly targeting the bowling of Riley Norton, Dhas showcased his prowess by striking three boundaries in a single over, reclaiming some control for India. While Saharan held firm at one end, Dhas assumed the role of the aggressor, racing to a half-century off 47 balls to keep the required run rate under 6.

Saharan quickly found his rhythm with a splendid boundary off James, not only marking the 100-run partnership for the fifth wicket but also propelling himself past Musheer Khan to claim the top spot on the tournament run-scoring charts.

The partnership between the two was a masterclass in innings building and chasing, as they milked singles relentlessly while putting the poor deliveries away for boundaries. 

The skipper too got in on the act, reaching his fifty off 88 balls with a boundary as India inched closer to victory.

Just as the required run rate got to a run-a-ball, Dhas and Saharan dispatched James for a six and four respectively to calm the nerves in the Indian camp.

But there was another twist as South Africa hit back when Maphaka was reintroduced into the attack. He got the better of Dhas with a well-disguised slower ball, the batter falling agonisingly short of a century on 96. 

The wicket brought about a lull in scoring, and the mounting pressure became palpable. Aravelly Avanish displayed nerves of steel by striking a crucial boundary off Norton on the final ball of the 46th over.

Maphaka bowled the 47th over and made a big difference off the last ball of the spell with the wicket of Avanish, with Norton taking a good catch in the deep. Two balls later, the game turned on its head again when Abhishek Murugan fell victim to poor running, being caught short of his crease by a direct hit from Marais.

The two wickets put the pressure back on India but a six from an unlikely source – Raj Limbani – shifted the equation, bringing it down to nine runs required off the last two overs.

Saharan put to rest any hopes of a South African comeback with four off the first ball of the penultimate over. In another twist to the game, Saharan was run out trying to scramble for the winning run. 

However, Limbani came in clutch again and struck a four off the final ball of the over to continue their unbeaten run and book their berth in the final.

The Player of the Match, India captain Uday Saharan, shared insights in the post-match presentation after bailing the team out of early trouble.

“I just believed in myself [after coming out to bat]. I knew it was a matter of one partnership and the game would be ours. I just kept telling myself repeatedly that I needed to bat till the end.” 

 

Related items

  • Charles spins web around Scorpions as Red Force maintain control; Hurricanes also tighten grip against Volcanoes Charles spins web around Scorpions as Red Force maintain control; Hurricanes also tighten grip against Volcanoes

    A destructive spell of spin bowling by Bryan Charles ensured Trinidad and Tobago Red Force maintained a strangle hold on their final round West Indies Championship encounter against Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park on Thursday.

    Charles snared six wickets for 75 runs in 23.1 overs, including four maidens, as he proved most destructive for the Red Force, who pegged the Scorpions against the ropes at 159-9, after the vistors earlier ended their first innings at a daunting 432.

    Jeavor Royal, on 33, and Andrae Dennis, yet to score, will resume batting for the Scorpions, who are 273 runs behind heading into Friday’s third day.

    Scores: Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 432 all out (Joshua Da Silva 106, Terrance Hinds 79, Amir Jangoo 51, Kjorn Ottley 45, Khary Pierre 43, Navin Bidaisee 31; Jeavor Royal 3-113, Ojay Shields 2-61, Peat Salmon 2-83).

    Jamaica Scorpions 159-9 (Kirk McKenzie 57, Jeavor Royal 33 not out; Bryan Charles 6-75, Khary Pierre 2-46).

    Earlier, Red Force resuming on 308-7, added another 124 runs to their overnight total, thanks to Terrance Hinds and Khary Pierre, who put together 91 for the eighth wicket. Hinds, added 58 runs to his overnight score of 21, in a just over two-hour 118-ball knock that included seven fours and five sixes.

    Pierre, who resumed on one, had two fours and two sixes in his 99-ball 43, as the Red Force lower order built on the momentum left by captain Joshua Da Silva, who initially revived the innings with a well-played century.

    Royal was the most successful Scorpions bowler with 3-113 from 37 overs, while pacer Ojay Shields and off-spinner Peat Salmon took two wickets apiece.

    If the Scorpions were frustrated by Red Force’s prolonged innings, then their week got a bit worse, as they failed to contend with the skill and precision of spinners Charles and Pierre.

    Charles, 28, first removed opener Javaughn Buchanan (10), and later ripped through the middle order, erasing any hopes the Scorpions had of staging a fightback.

    In fact, only West Indies left-handed batsman Kirk McKenzie, who topscored with a patient 153-ball 57, including two fours and two sixes, offered some resistance, before Royal became the second batsman to pass 20 runs. Pierre had 2-46 in 21 overs.

    Elsewhere, at Frank Worrell Field in Trinidad and Tobago, Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners lead Guyana Harpy Eagles by 142 with three second innings wickets intact.

    Scores: Campuses & Colleges Marooners 200 all out (Demario Richards 43, Romario Greaves 36, Avinash Mahabirsingh 23, Amari Goodridge 22, Jediah Blades 22 not out, Jarion Hoyte 21; Nial Smith 3-45, Veerasammy Permaul 3-51, Gudakesh Motie 2-40, Isai Thorne 2-45) and 165 for seven (Odaine McCatty 56, Shamarh Brooks 54 not out; Kevin Sinclair 2-29, Gudakesh Motie 2-42, Veerasammy Permaul 2-44).

    Guyana Harpy Eagles 223 all out (Raymond Perez 62, Tevin Imlach 55, Kevin Sinclair 37, Kevlon Anderson 27; Avinash Mahabirsingh 17.4-2-51-8).

    At the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, Barbados Pride lead Cricket West Indies Academy by 21 with seven second innings wickets in hand.

    Scores: Barbados Pride 155 all out (Jonathan Drakes 35, Kevin Wickham 27, Shian Brathwaite 26, Demetrius Richards 21 not out; Johann Layne 3-23, McKenny Clarke 3-26, Joshua Bishop 2-25, Ramon Simmonds 2-43) and 109 for three (Kraigg Brathwaite 49 not out, Shian Brathwaite 21; Joshua Bishop 2-11).

    CWI Academy 243 all out (Ackeem Auguste 76, Carlon Tuckett-Bowen 49, Johan Layne 38, McKenny Clarke 30; Akeem Jordan 4-76, Raymon Reifer 2-32, Jair McAllister 2-40, Shaquille Cumberbatch 2-75).

    Meanwhile, At Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago, Leeward Islands Hurricanes were 232 runs ahead of Windward Islands Volcanoes, with eight second innings wickets intact.

    Leeward Islands Hurricanes 300 all out (Mikyle Louis 100, Jewel Andrew 68, Jeremiah Louis 43, Jahmar Hamilton 34; Ryan John 3-67, Gilon Tyson 2-33, Daren Cyrus 2-70) and 111 for two (Mikyle Louis 33, Kieran Powell 31).

    Windward Islands Volcanoes 179 all out (Johann Jeremiah 41, Shamar Springer 33, Kavem Hodge 29, Stephan Pascal 25; Daniel Doram 16-5-34-6, Hayden Walsh Jr 3-21).

  • Heather Knight says counties’ frustrations hails ‘progress’ for women’s cricket Heather Knight says counties’ frustrations hails ‘progress’ for women’s cricket

    England captain Heather Knight insists counties feeling upset by their failure to land a new ‘tier one’ women’s team represents “progress” for the female game, while the England and Wales Cricket Board have made it clear a disappointed Yorkshire have not been “punished for past sins”.

    The move away from the current regional setup to a fully professionalised top flight from 2025, aligning with first-class counties in the process, is a major step forward for women’s cricket but not everyone has made the initial cut.

    Durham, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Surrey and Warwickshire were all successful, but eight other proposals were not. Yorkshire have been approved alongside Glamorgan to be elevated in 2027 and a further expansion to 12 teams is planned.

    Yet that delay represents the latest setback for a proud cricketing county after several years mired by the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal and financial pressures which saw them reappoint the divisive Colin Graves as chair earlier this year.

    However, ECB chief executive Richard Gould made it clear there was no sense of re-litigating those issues in a process that was focused entirely on elevating women’s cricket to fresh heights.

    “It’s certainly not (about) being punished for past sins, that’s not our role. Our role is to promote the game, not punish,” he said at the launch of a new national tape ball competition, aimed at further broadening the sport’s appeal.

    “It will be disappointing for those venues that either haven’t been selected for tier one at this point or who have been, but perhaps not quite as quickly as they expected.

    “There will be individual circumstances but I don’t think anybody should see this as anything other than a positive for the women’s game – we’ve had 16 counties bidding so strongly to host professional women’s cricket.

    “We were so relieved by the amount of focus, attention and frankly, love, that was being put into the women’s game in those bids.”

    Knight, meanwhile, sees the intensity of the bidding process – and the level of frustration at those who were not approved – as a positive sign given a a relative lack of enthusiasm for female teams earlier in her career.

    “It sounds like there’s some counties disappointed which is a shame but also pretty cool,” she said.

    “When I was playing a long time ago, a lot of counties weren’t interested. So that disappointment is a sign of the progress that has been made.

    “The regional structure has been super successful in professionalising the game and this is the next logical step.

    “It has been a problem with regions, mine (Western Storm) has three different counties, and sometimes you feel you don’t have a home or a bit all over the place with facilities, not getting the same equal access as the guys do. Hopefully that will change with this coming in and counties will be accountable. That’s the whole idea: one club, two teams.”

    Yorkshire, who have hosted the Northern Diamonds and can now expect their top players to head elsewhere in search of the best – and best-paid – cricket opportunities, had earlier tabled their own statement.

    “Yorkshire County Cricket Club are surprised and disappointed not to be awarded one of the initial Tier 1 women’s teams,” it read.

    “The news is especially frustrating and upsetting for the players and staff at the Northern Diamonds. Our focus is on supporting them through this difficult period and gaining as much clarity on what the future looks like.”

    Simon Phillip, speaking as chair of a Kent side who have hosted the South East Stars in recent seasons, was similarly aggrieved.

    “As the most successful county team in the history of Women’s Cricket, offering the only dedicated women’s performance centre at Beckenham and based in a highly diverse south-east London population of 1.2 million people, the decision is difficult to swallow,” he said.

    “Whilst this decision will take some getting over, we remain committed to women’s and girls’ cricket and are determined to not let it hamper our long-term ambitions.”

    Leicestershire were also vocal about their feelings on missing the boat, claiming “a missed opportunity by the ECB” and saying the club was “crestfallen” not be included.

  • CWI's VP Bassarath joins efforts to secure Narine's return for T20 World Cup CWI's VP Bassarath joins efforts to secure Narine's return for T20 World Cup

    Cricket West Indies (CWI) vice president Azim Bassarath has declared his intentions to join the effort to possibly coerce spinner Sunil Narine to come out of international retirement for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

    Bassarath's declaration follows that of West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, who has led the charge of trying to get Narine back to the regional setup ahead of the June 1-29 global showpiece.

    Narine, 35, confirmed his retirement from the international game last November. However, after a stellar 56-ball 109 for Kolkota Knight Riders (KKR) against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL tie on April 16, Powell said he’s been trying to coax Narine to rejoin the squad for the past year “but he’s blocked out everyone.”

    At the same time, the Jamaican revealed that he sought the assistance of Nicholas Pooran and retired international stars Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to convince their compatriot to return. Former maroon fast bowler Tony Gray also believes Narine would be a welcomed addition to Darren Sammy's side to challenge for a third T20 World Cup title.

    West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

    After KKR's IPL win against the Lucknow Super Giants on April 14, Narine when asked about the possibility of returning to the West Indies team by former West Indies teammate Samuel Badree, pointed out that “I will be watching from home, Badree.”

    However, Narine in another interview on Tuesday, appeared to soften his stance about making the proverbial U-turn, when he said, “It is what it is, but we'll have to see what the future holds.”

    Bassarath explained that he has tried unsuccessfully to make contact with Narine, but he intends to keep at it.

    “I haven’t spoken to him [Narine], and he hasn’t spoken to me. Everybody is asking for him to change his mind and come represent West Indies, at least for this last chance. It is my intention to give him a shout, and if I have to beg him to come back and make himself available to play in this tournament. Because this is what the people need," he said in a T&T Newsday article.

    Bassarath, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Bassarath also revealed that he reached out to Queen’s Park Cricket Club president Nigel Camacho – Narine’s domestic club – for help.

    “I have also spoken to the QPCC president, and he indicated to me that he will also reach out to Sunil to see if he can change his mind to come on board," he shared.

    West Indies are set to open their T20 World Cup campaign against Papa New Guinea in Guyana, on June 2.  Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Uganda are the other teams in the group.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.