Manjot Kalra scored an unbeaten 101 as India comfortably chased down the 217-run target set by Australia with eight wickets and 67 balls to spare to win the ICC under-19 cricket World Cup final at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, Tauranga today. And yet again, it was a complete team performance with multiple heroes.
It marked the first time in the tournament that the batsman had failed to pass 40 runs, while Shubman Gill did not make a half-century for the first time, having been removed for 31 by Uppal.
India spinner's accounted for Australia's middle order. India too were slightly sloppy, dropping a couple of tough catches and missing run-out opportunities.
The Australian bowlers were made to sweat. With this victory, India became the first nation in the history of the tournament to lift the trophy for the fourth time. Their highest also came in a Final, and also against Australia, in 2012.
But it all started differently. Mavi and Nagarkoti have already been picked up in the IPL auction, a marker of how impressive they have been. But besides Manoj Kalra it was Harvik Desai who played a very vital and unbeaten knock of 47.
India are a step away from becoming the first nation to win 4 titles and the same holds true for Australia.
Sensing a need to attack, Merlo made a decision to go for his shots but an attempted reverse slog-sweep found more height than distance, but his was a fine effort, and a significant Aussie support applauded him warmly as he walked back in. Four Indian bowlers chipped in with two wickets each as Jason Sangha's team never got going despite the top six batsmen getting starts. Australia are second on the list with three titles. That wouldn't happen, as Kalra bossed the chase. The runs continued to come at brisk pace on resumption with Shaw bringing the 50-run opening stand in the ninth over with a couple of boundaries.
In fact, all eyes will be on Gill, who has been the most consistent batsman of the tournament. He had scored 86 in the tournament-opener against the same side. Among the Australian bowlers only Will Sutherland and Param Uppal got a wicket apiece. Shaw and Kalra contributed 261 and 252 respectively. He drove through the line beautifully in languid style, and even went aerial, hitting the long ball down the ground.
Jack Edwards - just 17 and the younger brother of Sydney Sixers player Mickey - has averaged 47 with the bat and 16.20 with the ball. From there on, it was only a matter of flaunting his range of shots.
India lingered in the field after the innings, walking back only after a passionate group huddle.