U19 Men’s Cricket WC: India and Australia set to renew rivalry in final

Five-time winners India will be hoping to add another crown and swell their trophy cabinet with their sixth title when they take on three-time champions Australia in the final of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 here on Sunday.

Five-time winners India will be hoping to add another crown and swell their trophy cabinet with their sixth title when they take on three-time champions Australia in the final of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 here on Sunday.

India and Australia will compete for silverware once again following a scintillating round of semifinal fixtures at Willowmoore Park, Benoni.

India confirmed their spot in the final after beating hosts South Africa by two wickets in a tense matchup on Tuesday. Chasing 245 for victory, India battled back from 32 for four to seal a memorable win thanks to a brilliant match-winning partnership between Sachin Dhas and captain Uday Saharan.

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Thursday’s second semifinal was also not short of drama as Australia emerged victorious against Pakistan by one wicket in the final over of the contest. Having bowled out Pakistan for a seemingly below-par total of 179, Australia stuttered in their chase before their middle and lower order formed crucial partnerships to help them edge home in thrilling fashion.

India and Australia both head into the final undefeated, having topped their respective groups in both the initial stage and the Super Six stage, and can boast some of the most exciting young talent on the planet.

Among the future stars that have impressed throughout the competition are skippers Uday Saharan of India and Hugh Weibgen of Australia, and both have their sights firmly set on lifting the coveted trophy on Sunday.

Speaking ahead of the final, India captain, Uday Saharan said: “As we approach the World Cup final, we carry the dreams of a billion hearts on our shoulders. Our journey has been a testament to our hard work, unity, and love for the game.

“In this final battle, we aim to create a legacy that inspires the next generation. It’s not just a game; it’s a chance to etch our names in history.

“Right from our first game, we have played with passion, determination, and a belief that we will get the coveted title home. In the final, against Australia, it is going to be no different as we go one step closer to defending the title successfully. Together, as one team, one nation, we march into the final, ready to seize our moment and make India proud,” he said.

“As a captain, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from my team as we stand at the cusp of creating history.”

Australia captain, Hugh Weibgen too is ready for the battle with India.

“We’re really pleased to have made it through to the final after a close game against Pakistan and we can’t wait to take on India in Sunday’s final.

“The whole squad has done a terrific job throughout the tournament, and it would mean so much to us as a group to lift the trophy on Sunday. This is an opportunity to make our coaches as well as family and friends extremely proud. They have helped and supported us along the journey.

“India have obviously also had an outstanding tournament so far and are a class team. We’re expecting they will provide a challenge for us, and we are looking forward to it.”

India and Australia have met twice before in an ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup final, with India having won on both previous occasions in 2012 and 2018.

Match Official appointments for Sunday’s final have also been confirmed, with Allahudien Palekar and Langton Rusere selected as the on-field umpires. Rashid Riaz will assume the role of TV umpire, with Roland Black acting as the fourth umpire and Shaid Wadvalla as the Match Referee.

The on-field action will be accompanied by a vibrant festival atmosphere, with live music and entertainment offerings that will enhance what promises to be a memorable showcase of cricket.

(IANS)

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