Internet Desk: India’s young sensation Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti bagged three wickets each as Prithvi Shaw led Indian U19 cricket team registered an emphatic 100-run win over Australia in their opening match of the ICC U19 World Cup at Mount Maunganui today. Earlier a brilliant batting performance by skipper Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and Manjot Kalra helped the Blue colts to put a mammoth of a total of 328/7 at first after India chose to ball first. Earlier India had won this crown three times and they are again hot favorites to clinch the title.
Shaw himself set the tone for the innings himself with a poised and powerful 94. The Mumbai batsman’s style and potential has drawn comparisons to Sachin Tendulkar, and he justified the praise throughout his innings, striking eight fours with his pristine, high-elbowed technique.
There were however a few moments of alarm. Having struck India’s first six of the tournament, a flowing blade sending the ball over long on, but was almost dismissed soon after, Shaw nicking to the keeper only to be reprieved when replays revealed that Will Sutherland, son of Australia CEO James, had overstepped. He was reprieved a second time, again off Sutherland, when he smashed a pull shot through the hands of deep backward square to move into the 90s, but was dismissed the very next ball, falling six short of his ton, nicking off, third time lucky for Australia.
All the while at the other end, less hyped but losing little in association with Prithvi Shaw, was Manjot Kalra, who scored freely all around the ground during his 84. Their stand of 180 was the highest opening partnership for India in Under 19 World Cups, and their second highest for any wicket.
Vice-captain Shubman Gill capitalised on their platform with a powerful 63 while Abhishek Sharma, with an 8-ball 23, provided the late flourish.
Australia’s captain Jason Sangha tried everything he could to stem the Indian scoring, using eight bowlers in total, and taking a stunning catch to dismiss Kalra. Austin son-of-Steve Waugh went at more than 10 an over and legspinner Lloyd Pope endured a chastening day, two dropped catches compounding the misery of three overs for 22. India’s total was an U19 CWC record against Australia for any team.
Still, it didn’t feel out of the realms of possibility for a powerful batting line-up, and a good bowling performance was an imperative. Shivam Mavi and Ishan Porel led the way, keeping Australia’s openers quiet. But it was fellow quick Kamlesh Nagarkoti who claimed the opening scalp, Max Bryant failing to keep a drive down and picking out extra cover. All three topped 145 kph, their pace as eye-catching as Shaw’s timing.
By that point India had lost Ishan Porel to injury, the seamer slipping slightly in his delivery stride. His condition was the one thing to trouble India on the day.
Jason Sangha made a start before being caught by his opposite number. Jack Edwards, who made an excellent half century, was then joined by Jonathan Merlo, who made a belligerent 38 before falling victim to the delivery of the day, Mavi getting one to straighten past the bat and take out off stump, all at high pace.
Twelve runs later a horrific mix up left Param Uppal and betrayed Australia’s frazzled minds, and once Waugh and Edwards fell within two runs of each other, the result was beyond doubt, Australia eventually sliding to 228 all out, losing by exactly 100 runs, coincidentally the number on the back of player of the match Prithvi Shaw’s shirt. India could not have planned it any better.