Mirpur (Bangladesh), Feb 14: India faltered at the last hurdle as they lost to West Indies in the final of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup here today (February 14).
In a low-scoring thriller on Sunday, West Indies held their nerve to become the champions for the first time. They successfully chased down 146, in the final over, losing 5 wickets.
It was a tense contest with West Indies recovering from 77/5 to cross the finish line. Keacy Carty, with an unbeaten 52 (125 balls, 2x4) and Keemo Paul (40 not out, 68 balls, 1x4, 1x6) were the batting heroes for the Caribbean side.
Carty and Paul had a match-winning unbroken partnership of 69 runs (highest in the game). Both enjoyed lives as Indian put down catches. Paul hit the winning runs off Khaleel Ahmed. West Indies had required 3 runs in the final over and they won with 3 balls to spare. Carty was adjudged Man-of-the-match.
For India, it was left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar who brought them back in the game. West Indies were cruising at 67/2 but Dagar turned the match with an outstanding spell of bowling.
He had 3 wickets but should have had 2 more as Sarfaraz Khan dropped Paul's catch (when on 10) at first slip and later wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant spilled Carty's catch, when the batsman was on 35.
India came into the final, riding on a 15-match winning streak since losing to England in the quarter-final of the previous edition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) two years ago but their unbeaten streak was ended today.
They had won 20 of their 21 one-day matches since January 2014. This was the 5th time India had entered the summit clash of U-19 World Cup. They won the title thrice (2000, 2008, 2012).
In the current tournament, India had breezed through Group D with an all-win record against New Zealand, Nepal and Ireland, before crushing Namibia by 197 runs in the quarter-final and Sri Lanka by 97 runs in the semi-final. But the favourites failed to win the summit clash.
Earlier, India were bowled out for a paltry 145 on a green pitch. After winning the toss and opting to field first at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, West Indies pacemen troubled Indian batsmen right from the start.
Batting was not easy on the 22-yard strip that had pace and bounce in it. West Indies fast bowlers exploited the conditions to their advantage. India's position could have been worse but Sarfaraz's fighting 51 took them past the 100-run mark.
The right-handed Sarfaraz had been in terrific form and he ended the tournament on a high, with 355 runs in 6 innings. Today's was his 5th half century in this edition of U-19 World Cup.
The 18-year-old Sarfaraz claimed a record by scoring his 7th half ton in U-19 World Cup history. He now has the most scores of 50 or more in tournament's history.
Right-arm fast bowler Alzarri Joseph started off things well for West Indies. He dismissed both Indian openers Rishabh Pant (1) and captain Ishan Kishan (4) cheaply. Joseph finished with figures of 3/39 in 10 overs.
India, coached by batting legend Rahul Dravid, were reduced to 50/5 in 17.2 overs. It was left to Sarfaraz to do the repair work.
Sarfaraz's knock contained 5 fours and 1 six. He faced 89 balls for his 51. Before today he had scores of 74, 74, 21 not out, 76, 59. The next best contribution after Sarfaraz was from number 9 batsman Rahul Batham, who made 21.
Ryan John (3/38 in 10 overs), Keemo Paul (2/17), Chemar Holder (1/20), Shamar Springer (1/24) all had wickets to their names. All 5 of West Indies bowlers had success.
Scores in brief
India 145 all out in 45.1 overs (Sarfaraz Khan 51, Rahul Batham 21, Mahipal Lomror 19, Alzarri Joseph 3/39, Ryan John 3/38, Keemo Paul 2/17) lost to West Indies 146/5 in 49.3 overs (Keacy Carty 52 not out, Keemo Paul 40 not out, Shimron Hetmyer 23, Mayank Dagar 3/25)
India: Ishan Kishan (captain), Rishabh Pant (vice-captain), Anmolpreet Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Armaan Jaffer, Washington Sundar, Mahipal Lomror, Mayank Dagar, Rahul Batham, Avesh Khan, Khaleel Ahmed.
West Indies: Gidron Pope, Tevin Imlach, Shimron Hetmyer (captain), Keacy Carty, Shamar Springer, Jyd Goolie, Keemo Paul, Michael Frew, Ryan John, Alzarri Joseph, Chemar Holder.
On-field Umpires - Ruchira Palliyaguruge and Robert Bailey
Third Umpire - Mick Martel
Fourth Umpire - Adrian Holdstock
Match referee - Andy Pycroft
List of U-19 World Cup champions
2014: South Africa
2016: West Indies