India produced an all-round masterclass to beat Pakistan by 203 runs at the Hagley Oval with Shubhman Gill and Ishan Porel emerging as standout performers. Gill’s unbeaten 102, after India batted first, and Porel’s five-for broke Pakistan’s back to register a berth in the ICC U-19 World Cup final to be played against Australia on Saturday (February 3).
Gill’s unbeaten ton and yet another glorious knock at the tournament propelled India to 272/9 before Porel picked four early wickets to snatch any hopes that Pakistan may have had of reaching the target. With early blows and half the side in the pavilion early on, Pakistan could only manage 69 runs to lose by a massive 203 runs – their worst defeat at this level. The 69 run total also happens to be Pakistan’s lowest at a U-19 World Cup. In thrashing Pakistan, India made their way into a sixth U-19 World Cup final.
Opting to bat, India got off to a solid start courtesy Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra to bring up 89 runs inside the 16 overs. It is not that Pakistan did not have any opportunities – they did – but they didn’t capitalise. Kalra was dropped twice and survived a run out chance while Shaw eventually perished with a run out having survived two. In all, Pakistan squandered seven clear cut run out opportunities.
Pakistan tried to bring in danger man Shaheen Afridi into the attack and inflict damage but the India openers did well to see him off. Shaw and Kalra fell within a span of two overs to give Pakistan an edge and brought Harvik Desai and Gill to the middle. They stitched a stand of 54 runs before Pakistan once again fought back with quick wickets.
Away from the falling wickets stood Gill who continued to bat by keeping the ball down and remaining smart with the shots he played. With five wickets down, India were wobbling before Gill and Anukul Roy steadied the ship. Both players remained cautious in their approach but kept rotating the strike.
India lost wickets in the end in packs too but Gill did enough to bring up his century in the final over of the inning. Even as Shivam Mavi and Shiva Singh fell in the last over of the inning, Gill reached his ton in dramatic fashion to register the first century by an Indian player in this edition. Additionally, he became the first player to score a century in India vs Pakistan contests at the U-19 World Cups.
Pakistan’s chase – or lack of – never took off. Mavi controlled the flow of runs in the early overs alongside Porel who came in with the wickets. Porel picked up the first four wickets of the innings – twice with Prithvi Shaw taking blinders at gully. Pakistan were reduced to 28/4 with Porel doing the damage.
The difference between the two sides remained the fielding. While Pakistan let go of many opportunities, India were stupendous in the field. Away from Shaw’s fantastic catches at gully, Gill took a catch while running backwards to further Pakistan’s woes.
After Porel’s seam bowling demolition, the spinners took over with Shiva Singh and Riyan Parag taking two wickets each to soon enough dismiss Pakistan for a paltry 69.
Brief scores: India: 272/9 in 50 overs. (Shubman Gill 102*; Muhammad Musa 4-67) beat Pakistan: 69 in 29.3 overs (Ishan Porel 4-17) by 203 runs.