Mirpur, Jan 30: India today stormed into the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup quarter-finals after producing a clinical all-round performance to wallop New Zealand by 120 runs in their penultimate Group D encounter here.
Put into bat on a slow track, the three-time champions scored a decent 258 for eight with Sarfaraz Khan continuing his fine form hitting a polished 74. Left-handed opener Rishabh Pant and middle-order batsman Armaan Jaffer contributed 57 and 46 respectively.
Another significant innings came from all-rounder Mahipal Lomror, who scored a quickfire 42-ball-45. In reply, New Zealand were decimated for 138 in only 31.3 overs with pacer Avesh Khan bowling a deadly opening spell to finish with figures of 4/32 in 10 overs which also earned him the Man of the Match award.
Lomror could have also got the award as he capped his 45 with figures of 5/47 in 7.3 overs to polish off the tail. The 'Boys in Blue', coached by Rahul Dravid, virtually wrapped up the match in the first 10 overs of New Zealand's chase as Avesh reduced them to 16 for four wreaking havoc.
He hit the perfect length and speed of around 135 kmph proved to be ideal at this level. The Madhya Pradesh lad, who has already played first-class cricket, has the ability to hit the deck and also move the ball back into the right handers with a few that holds its line.
The slip catching was also pretty good with Washington Sundar holding on to couple of good catches.
Earlier, India had two stand-out partnerships in their score of 258. Pant and Sarfaraz added 89 for the third wicket after they were reduced to 19 for two. The second was between Armaan and Lomror that yielded 55 runs for the sixth wicket.
Pant and Sarfaraz, played contrasting innings on a slowish track. The Delhi glovesman hit seven fours and two sixes but in general played second fiddle to the stockily built Mumbai lad whose 74 off 80 balls had nine boundaries.
However, both were guilty of losing it after being well set. Pant tried a fancy slash off Dale Phillips to be caught at short third-man while Sarfaraz was played on off Nathan Smith's bowling.
But it was young Armaan, nephew of former India opener Wasim Jaffer, who kept his cool running well between the wickets to score 46 off 49 balls with two boundaries.
India will next play Nepal, who have also qualified for the quarterfinals, on Monday (February 1).
Brief Scores: India U-19 258/8 in 50 overs (Sarfaraz Khan 74, Risabh Pant 57, Armaan Jaffer 46, Zak Gibson 3/50) beat New Zealand 138 in 31.3 overs (Christian Leopard 40, Avesh Khan 4/32, Mahipal Lomror 5/47).