Winning their second consecutive match in the tournament, junior Men in Blue qualified for the quarter-finals of the U-19 world cup. They did it by emerging victorious in the encounter against Ireland with a huge margin of 174 runs. They continued from where they left in the encounter against South Africa. In this match, however, the most important thing was the contribution of maximum team members.
Choosing to bat first, Men in Blue started playing cautiously against the irregular variations of the ball. After having the idea of the variation, both the openers launched the attack on Irish bowlers. With the highest run-getter of the Asia cup, Harnoor Singh scoring 88 runs, and Angriksh Raghuvanshi scoring run a ball 79 runs, they stitched a good partnership putting the Irish bowling lineup under pressure.
Followed by the openers, Raj Bawa played a cautious knock of 42 runs. Further, Nishant Sandhu, the stand-in skipper in absence of Yash Dhull played with an almost strike rate of a hundred scoring 36 off 34 deliveries. But the star of Indian batting was Rajvardhan Hangargekar. The all-rounder from Maharashtra, who impressed everyone with his bowling in the first match, played a quickfire knock of 39 runs off 17 balls, hitting 5 towering sixes and a boundary.
The combined effort of top and middle order, and the fireworks by Hangargekar helped India cross the 300 run mark and the Men in Blue set a target of 308 runs. None of the Irish batters could stand the Indian attack for too long. While chasing the target, barring Joshua Cox and Scott Macbeth, who respectively scored 28 and 32, none of the Irish batters played their role.
The Indian bowlers did their role to perfection. With Sangwan, Tambe and Gautam picking a couple of wickets each and Hangargekar, Kumar and Ostwal scalping 1 each, the Irish batters could only reach 133 runs. Hangargekar, yet again impressed with his consistent speed and accuracy. The Irish innings came to an end with a magnificent catch by Raj Bawa who ran a distance to complete almost a diving catch dismissing Muzamil Sherzad.
With the catch, junior sealed the victory with a huge margin of 174 runs. The victory sealed the spot of Men in Blue juniors in the quarter-finals of the tournament. They still have a league stage game to play against Uganda, post which they will know their knockout match opponent. Nevertheless, the skilful juniors can be proud of what they have done, and we wish they continue their winning streak in the matches to come, resulting in the 5th title coming to India.
Authored By:- Ashwin Jangam ( Cricket Analyst, Host and Entertainer)
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