Big picture: India vs Australia in a final, again
India, the defending champions, are the most successful side in the competition’s history. Playing in their ninth final, they will be gunning for their sixth title. Australia, meanwhile, last won under Mitchell Marsh in 2010. They’ve run into a rampant Indian team twice since, only to finish second-best.
As luck would have it, Raf MacMillan’s thick inside ran past that fielder for four to ensure Tom Straker’s six-for didn’t go in vain. Ali Raza, who’d fought valiantly to pick up a four-for to turn the game around on its head, sat on his haunches shedding tears of heartbreak.
A game prior to being pushed by Pakistan, Australia slumped to 87 for 5 against West Indies, and had to dig into their batting reserves to eke out a competitive total. So it hasn’t always been a smooth sailing. Sam Konstas, whose temperament many experts have likened to Michael Clarke’s, responded with a backs-to-the-wall 108.
Callum Vidler has had many take note of his ability to hit speeds upwards of 140 clicks, which for someone just 18 is mighty impressive. He has proven to be way too quick and sharp for batters across teams and the stats back that. He has picked up 12 wickets in five games at an average of 10.75 and economy of 3.88.
Beyond the wins, it’s spurts of individual promise like this that makes the Under-19 World Cup a spectacle that it is. There will be several players from both sides to look out for come Sunday.
India WWWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the Spotlight: Kulkarni and Harjas
Pitch and Conditions
Benoni has had plenty of pace and carry for the faster bowlers. Early on, the new ball bowled have also found plenty of swing. This coupled with teams looking to build rather than go-big up top has led to middling totals in the 250-range. In a big game, the captain winning the toss will have a tough choice to make. Should they exploit the morning conditions or bank on the comfort of runs to defend?
Australia: Harry Dixon, Sam Konstas, Hugh Weibgen (c), Harjas Singh, Ryan Hicks (wk), Oliver Peake, Tom Campbell, Raf MacMillan, Tom Straker, Mahli Beardman, Callum Vidler
India: Adarsh Singh, Arshin Kulkarni, Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan (c), Priyanshu Moliya, Sachin Dhas, Aravelly Avanish (wk), Murugan Abhishek, Naman Tiwari, Raj Limbani, Saumy Pandey.
Stats and Trivia
“We don’t mind being the underdogs, we’re not the favourites, that’s alright. Being in pressure situations [at different times] will help us in the final” – Australia captain Hugh Weibgen is comfortable with how his side’s looked at.
“I am not thinking anything like that.” – India captain Uday Saharan on being able to take revenge for the 50-over World Cup final loss.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo