Sachin Dhas' outstanding 96 off 95 balls, coupled with captain Uday Saharan's courageous 81 off 124 balls, rescued India from deep trouble after losing 4 early wickets.
What an incredible game! The thrilling encounter saw India secure a spot for the 5th consecutive time in the final of the ICC U19 World Cup 2024 by defeating host South Africa in a nail-biting semi-final at Willowmoore Park in Benoni. The Boys in Blue clinched the win by 2 wickets, chasing down 245 runs. Sachin Dhas' outstanding 96 off 95 balls, coupled with captain Uday Saharan's courageous 81 off 124 balls, rescued India from deep trouble after losing 4 early wickets.
The game remained closely contested with the runs and balls going neck-to-neck with the tournament's highest wicket-taker Kwena Maphaka even giving his side more hope by taking wickets at crucial juntions and even bowling dot balls. However, Raj Limbani's arrival at the crease saw him smash a crucial six and a four in the next over got the Men in Blue some breather to get the final runs left with balls to spare.
As for the clash, India's chase got off to a disastrous start, with Adarsh Singh losing his wicket on the very first ball and Musheer Khan following suit shortly after, leaving India at 8/2. Later, Priyanshu Moliya departed for just 5 with only 32 runs on the board and Arshin Kulkarni also did not stay long as he walked back for just 12. Tristan Luus proved to be the wrecker-in-chief, claiming three of India's four wickets.
Nevertheless, Dhas and Saharan steadied the ship, pulling India out of deep trouble, and the tailenders ultimately finished the job for the Indian side.
At the toss, India won and chose to bowl first, a strategy they hadn't employed in the tournament thus far. While Raj Limbani secured two early wickets, the fifties from Lhuan-dre Pretorius (76) and Richard Seletswane (64) helped South Africa post a score of 244 for 7. Raj Limbani (3/60), Musheer Khan (2/43), Naman Tiwari (1/52), and Saumy Pandey (1/38) shared the spoils for India.
The other two teams to make it to the semi-final clash are Australia and Pakistan, and the match will be held on February 8 at the same venue - Willowmoore Park in Benoni. There could be a chance of an India vs Pakistan clash in the final if the Boys in Green manage to defeat the Aussies in the semis.
Playing XI Squads:
India U19: Adarsh Singh, Arshin Kulkarni, Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan (c), Priyanshu Moliya, Sachin Dhas, Aravelly Avanish (wk), Murugan Abhishek, Raj Limbani, Naman Tiwari, Saumy Pandey
South Africa U19: Lhuan-dre Pretorius (wk), Steve Stolk, David Teeger, Richard Seletswane, Dewan Marais, Juan James (c), Oliver Whitehead, Riley Norton, Tristan Luus, Nqobani Mokoena, Kwena Maphaka