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Townsville (Australia): Unmukt Chand led from the front with a magnificent hundred as India Under-19 lifted their third World Cup title after beating formidable defending champions Australia by six wickets in the final on Sunday.
Courtesy a magnificent unbeaten 111 by Unmukt and his unbroken partnership of 130 runs with wicketkeeper Smit Patel, India overhauled a competitive target of 226 on a bouncy strip with 14 balls to spare.
It was one of the best centuries one could have witnessed at the junior-level as Unmukt hit seven fours and as many as six sixes during his 130-ball knock.
He completed his century with a six over extra-cover off Alex Gregory but the celebrations were muted. The skipper knew that the job was only half done.
Once Smit, who hit an effective 62, slog-swept off-spinner Ashton Turner towards deep mid-wicket for a four a number of Indian supporters rushed to the ground along to celebrate with the team.
Though four wickets were lost in the chase, it never looked like an uphill task for the Indians, who were subdued in the middle overs but accelerated towards the end to get to the target with ease.
After Prashant Chopra was out chasing a delivery down leg-side of Mark Steketee without troubling the scorers, Unmukt and in-form batsman Baba Aparajith (33) took the attack to the opposition.
The duo added 73 runs for the second-wicket playing the Aussie pace trio of Steketee, Joel Paris and Gurinder Sandhu with ease.
Unmukt was phenomenal in the closing stages hitting a couple of glorious sixes off Sandhu’s bowling.
The first was over long-off while second looked even more spectacular as he presented a full face of the bat with a nice follow through.
Aparajith on the other hand hit a nice hook shot off Paris and some lovely cover drives that pierced the field.
However, Sandhu had the last laugh when he forced Aparajith to drive on the up and was brilliantly caught by Ashton Turner at short-cover.
The Tamil Nadu all-rounder scored 33 off 38 balls with five hits to the fence. Hanuma Vihari (4) and Vijay Zol (1) didn’t score much but some damage was done by the number of deliveries that were consumed in the process.
Zol’s discomfort against the moving deliveries also frustrated Unmukt who didn’t get much of the strike. The Indian captain finally completed his half-century in 68 deliveries.
Zol’s agony ended as he edged one off Paris to wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson. At 97 for four, Smit Patel joined Unmukt and the circumstances were difficult. The boundaries dried up and so did the singles.
It was Smit, who hit fine straight drives as India got their first boundary after 44 deliveries.
Slowly, the two resurrected the innings with singles and twos. There were the occasional boundaries but only a few compared to the flurry of fours that Unmukt and Aparajith hit in first 15 overs.
Earlier, India frittered away the early advantage, as defending champions Australia recovered from a shaky start to post a competitive 225 for 8.
Electing to field after winning the toss Indians had the Aussies on the mat at 38 for 4 before host skipper William Bosisto (87 not out) rebuilt the innings with the help of some notable contributions down the order from Tavis Head (37) and Ashton Turner. Sandeep Sharma (4-54) was the most successful bowler.
This is India’s third title after having won in 2000 and 2008.
Twitter abuzz with congratulatory message for India U-19 squad
India’s under-19 cricket team was swamped with congratulatory messages from politicians, cricketers and corporate bosses on twitterati for lifting its third U-19 World Cup title after a gap of four years.
From senior cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh to Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken, corporates Anand Mahindra and Vijay Mallya — all came together on Twitter to congratulate the Indian colts on their remarkable achievement.
While the junior Indian team did a Usain Bolt by striking his trademark ‘To The World’ pose after lifting the coveted trophy, players and other celebrities used social networking sites to express their joy after the visitors beat formidable defending champions Australia by six wickets at Tony Ireland Stadium.
-Champions champions champions. Well done India U—19 boys for bringing another world cup home. Very proud of u all. So happy. God bless u all,- tweeted India off—spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Yuvraj Singh wrote: -Proud of the colts!! Congratulations to the u—19 boys for winning the world cup! well played captain @UnmuktChand.-
Sports Minister Maken posted: -Congratulations-
India middle-batsman Manoj Tiwary was all praise for the Indian team.
-Thank you India U19 Team for making us proud by winning the World Cup trophy. And great inning by @UnmuktChand9 and well played Smit Patel.-
Indian Premier League Commissioner, Rajeev Shukla, extending his best wishes for Team India, wrote: -Congratulate Indian U19 team 4 a spectacular performance 2 lift the World Cup. Australian team deserves praise 4 putting up a good show too.
Former IPL chairman Lalit Modi also joined in to congratulate the Indian team.
-Congrats to the Indian Under 19 Boys for bringing home the Cup. These Boys are our Future,- he posted.
West Indies opener Chris Gayle wrote: -Great news. India won the U19 world cup. India beat Australia in world cup Final Congrats team India.-
UB Group chairman and owner of Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL team, Vijay Mallya tweeted: -Congrats Team India. Under 19 World Cup Champions. Good inspiration for the senior national team in the forthcoming World Cup.-
Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group also praised the team for its performance.
-This is what is so infectious about India:the FUTURE is always better&brighter.Congratulations to the Under—19 World Cup Cricket team..!- Mahindra wrote.
Beijing Games gold—medallist shooter, Abhinav Bindra congratulated the team, saying it was great to watch the match.
-Well done Unmukt Chand! Great to watch. Congrats to the team!-, he wrote on his Twitter page.
Former Indian spinner Murali Kartik wrote: -Well done the Under—19 lads..congrats.-
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the young cricketers have done the country proud.
-Our cricketers have done us proud yet again.
Congratulations to the young players for winning the ICC Under—19 Cricket World Cup-.
Former India opener Aakash Chopra was also full of praise for the youngsters. -The rewards of diligent and thorough preparation over the last 2 years. Well done BCCI. Well done young Team India-.