Dubai: India edged into the final of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Cricket World Cup by beating New Zealand by nine runs at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, Australia, on Thursday.
Two-times former champions India will now meet the defending champions Australia in Sunday’s final.
India, after posting a total of 209, defended their total through accurate bowling and brilliant fielding. Once again the star performer was Chennai’s Baba Aparajith, who hit 44 off 61 balls and then put the brakes on New Zealand batsmen with a tight spell of accurate off-spin bowling, giving away just 29 runs from his ten overs and also bagging a wicket.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan reached the final of the Plate Championship and will take on Sri Lanka on Friday.
In other matches, West Indies will meet England in the fifth-sixth position play-off, while Pakistan will meet Bangladesh in the seventh-eighth play-off.
In Thursday’s semi-final, New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl first. Their captain, Will Young, took a one-handed diving catch, which is being hailed as the catch of the tournament, to dismiss Prashant Chopra. It ended Chopra’s fine knock of 52 off 104 balls with five boundaries and a six.
New Zealand began their reply confidently, but lost their first wicket in the ninth over. Harmeet Singh struck to take the wickets of Ben Horne and Young, before Robert O’Donnell and Cam Fletcher combined to put on 54. Aparajith provided the breakthrough for India by dismissing O’Donnell.
Fletcher top-scored for New Zealand with 53 before being owled by Sandeep Sharma in the 47th over. The Kiwis needed 18 runs off the last over but Sharma kept it tight.