India skipper Unmukt Chand on Saturday said that his side has peaked at the right time as it braces up to take on hosts Australia in the final of the Under-19 World Cup,here tomorrow.
Australia won the event in 1988,2002 and 2010,and is not only bidding to win its fourth title but also trying to become only the second side after Pakistan to win back-to-back titles (2004 and 2006). India won the Under-19 title in 2000 and 2008.
Chand will be aiming to become the third India captain to win the trophy after Mohammad Kaif and Virat Kohli. I am very optimistic about the final. We have played Australia in Australia (Quad Series trophy in April) and that too at the same venue. We are used to the conditions,and should do well, said Chand.
He said the team has overcome the sluggish start – India lost their first game against the West Indies.
The team has peaked at the right time. We did not start well in the competition,but the teamwork can be seen now. It is not that one or two players are carrying the side. Everybody is contributing,and that is why we are in the final. I had always visualised qualifying for the final. Australia is a good side,and so are we. The summit clash should be a competitive encounter. We will do our best to return home with the Cup, he said.
No batsman from either side figures in the top run-getters list. Cameron Bancroft with 194 runs is in 17th position and Bosisto is 19th,while Indias Prashant Chopra with 172 runs is 23rd and Vijay Zol with 150 runs is 33rd on the table.
With the ball,Indias Ravikant Singh has bagged 11 wickets and Kamal Passi has scalped 10,while Ashton Turner with 10 wickets and Gurinder Sandhu with nine wickets are Australias leading wicket-takers.
Australia captain Will Bosisto said playing India is the final will be a big challenge. India has strong top-order batting,and the five bowlers they have are really consistent. It will be a tough challenge for us. India has been much like us in a way as it has managed to get over the line without perhaps playing its best cricket. So,it will be a great challenge for us on Sunday.
All the boys are ready to go. Obviously,it is pretty exciting for us to be in a final. There will be lots of people watching us on TV and at the ground so it is a big occasion for us, he said.
We have played India a fair bit over the past year or so,but I dont think we can read too much into past results. The conditions are probably a little bit different than they were in April and we have a few changes to our side as have they, he added.
SA thrash NZ
South African bowlers ran through the batting line-up as they beat New Zealand by eight wickets to finish third at the U-19 World Cup at the Endeavour Park in Townsville.
South Africa and New Zealand had earlier lost semi-finals to Australia and India respectively.
Batting first after winning the toss,New Zealand were bowled out for just 90 in 36.5 overs. South Africa chased down the target in just 14.4 overs to end at 94 for two. Earlier,left-arm paceman Jan Frylinck (two for 18 off five overs),playing his second game of the tournament,started off well for South Africa.
The third-wicket stand of 28 runs between Joe Carter (20) and Robert ODonnell (13) helped New Zealand recover. South Africa paceman Calvin Savage (3/14 off four overs) broke the stubborn partnership,dismissing ODonnell in the 11th over. Savages spell helped him earn the Player of the Match award.
Leg-spinner David Rhoda also picked up four wickets and accounted for the New Zealand tail.
Brief scores: NZ 90 all out in 36.5 overs (Connor Neynens,Joe Carter 20; David Rhoda 4-26,Calvin Savage 3-14) lost to SA 94 for two in 14.4 overs (Quntinon de Kock 50,Theunis de Bruyn 19 not out).