Kuala Lumpur, Feb 27 (UNI) India's young hopes held their nerves to defeat New Zealand by three wickets in a rain-affected match to enter the finals of ICC U/19 cricket World Cup here today.
Captain Virat Kohli led from the front and showed fine all-round skills, hitting a crucial 43 in the middle overs having impressed with the ball earlier in the day, taking 2 for 27.
Batting first, New Zealand did well to post 205 runs for the loss of eight wickets with the help Corey Anderson' 70 which included four well timed sixes.
Shortly after the India innings had begun, the heavens opened as it started raining. But the hard-working groundstaff at the Kinrara Oval did a great job as once the rain stopped play resumed within 20 minutes.
The target for India was revised down to 191 in 43 overs and New Zealand began well, taking the wickets of Taruwar Kohli and Tanmay Srivastava (to a stunning one-handed catch by Anderson) with just 40 on the board. But the skipper and Shreevats Goswami built a strong 84-run stand and seemed to have the game wrapped up.
But the junior Kiwis fought back as Tim Southee bowled beautifully when he came back on and he and Trent Boult picked up three late wickets to make the India team sweat.
But the job was eventually done by Saurabh Tiwary (29 not out) and Pradeep Sangwan (5 not out) who reached the target with nine balls to spare much to the delight of the majority of the sizable crowd that gathered for this thrilling day and night encounter.
India will now have to wait for the result of tomorrow's semi-final between South Africa and Pakistan before they take on the winner in Sunday's final.
Scores in brief: Super League Semi-Final 1 At Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur, India won by three wickets (revised target due to rain) New Zealand 205-8, 50 overs (Corey Anderson 70, Kane Williamson 37, Fraser Colson 32; Virat Kohli 2-27, Siddharth Kaul 2-47) India 191-7, 41.3 overs (Shreevats Goswami 51, Virat Kohli 43; Tim Southee 4-29) UNI XC RAR AB KP2305