Townsville: India beat New Zealand by 9 runs in the semi-final of the U-19 World Cup. They will now take on Australia in the final on August 26.
Defending a total of 209/9, the Indian bowlers did well to reduce the Kiwis to 63/4, before Robert O’Donnell (29) and Cam Fletcher (53) fought back with a 56-run partnership for the 5th wicket. Unmukt Chand’s team however held their nerve in the end, as tail-enders Jacob Duffy and Matthew Quinn failed to rake up 18 runs in the final over from Sandeep Sharma. Baba Aparajith was declared the Man-of-the-Match.
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Earlier, India were asked to bat after Kiwi skipper Will Young won the toss and elected to field. Opposite number Unmukt Chand (31) was the first to go, after he failed to protect his stumps against Connor Neynens. Prashant Chopra (52) and Baba Aparajith (44) then came together for a 81-run partnership to take the score to 132/1 on a track that was difficult to bat on.
Just after completing his half-century, Chopra fell to Ed Nuttall, with Aparajith following suit as the Kiwis sent back both set batsmen in a jiffy. Vijay Zol came into bat in the 37th over, lasting just five deliveries before falling for a duck. At 139/4, India’s colts managed to score just 70 runs to finish with a total of 209/9. For New Zealand, Ben Horne finished with figures of 3/28.
India have won the tournament in 2000 and 2008.