India clinched a record fifth ICC U-19 Men’s World Cup title after defeating England by four wickets in the final of the 2022 edition at the Vivian Richards Ground in North Sound in Antigua on Saturday. India have not lifted the U-19 title in 2000, 2008, 2012, 2018 and 2022 and no other team has won this more than thrice. (More Cricket News)
The day belonged to all-rounder Raj Angad Bawa. Grandson of 1948 Olympic gold medallist Tarlochan Singh Bawa, Raj shone with the ball with a sensational 5/31 to help India shot England out for 189 before hitting a valuable 35 down the order to help India chase down the target of 190 with 2.2 overs to spare.
Yash Dhull became the fifth Indian captain to win the title after Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand and Prithvi Shaw. Even BCCI secretary Jay Shah has announced a reward of Rs 40 lacs per player and Rs 25 lacs per support staff of the India U-19 contingent.
It was a remarkable achievement for India, considering the fact six members were down with COVID-19 midway into the tournament. Five members of the squad, including captain Yash Dhull and his deputy Shaik Rasheed, missed both the Ireland and Uganda fixtures, forcing the BCCI to fly in precautionary reinforcements.
India were all over England before a gritty 95 by James Rew saved his team the blushes, almost singlehandedly. Bowling his medium pacers to deadly effect, Raj Angad Bawa ran through the English middle-order after the in-from left-arm seamer Ravi Kumar (4/34) laid their opponents low with two early blows.
India kept taking wickets at regular intervals but not for once did the intensity of the team dropped. But Rew and James Sales (34 not out) defied India with their 93-run eight-wicket stand. The Yash Dhull-led India struck as early as the second over when Ravi sent back the dangerous Jacob Bethell (2) cheaply.
The man from Bengal struck again, this time bowling out English skipper Tom Prest who dragged the ball onto his stumps, putting the Indians on the top at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Ravi had 2/2 in the first two overs.
England needed a partnership at that stage but that was not going to be. Medium-pacer Raj Angad Bawa got the well-set George Thomas to play an irresponsible shot that got a thick outside edge and landed in the hands of Dhull at cover.
In all sorts of trouble at 37 for 3 at the start of the 11th over, England's desperate quest for a partnership was not answered, with William Luxton edging Bawa to be out caught behind before England could reach 50 runs.
Bawa was on a hat-trick as George Bell had no answer to an excellent delivery that kicked up and took a deflection on its way to the wicketkeeper Dinesh Bana. With half the side back in the dressing room in the 13th over, England’s dreams of winning a first world title in 24 years quickly going up in smoke.
There was not end to England's misery as Rehan Ahmed nicked Bawa to Tambe in first slip to leave the side reeling at 61 for six in the 17th over. Bowling a tight line and length, India kept up the pressure on England and it paid dividends when wicketkeeper Alex Horton, trying to heave off-spinner Tambe over midwicket, ended up giving a simple catch to Dhull.
England were still seven runs short of reaching 100 at that stage, but they got there soon with James Rew reaching his 50 in 79 balls. In the company of James Sales, he extended the England innings and gave his side something to defend.
In reply, the Boys in Blue had a horrific start losing opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi for nought in the very first over. Shaik Rasheed joined Harnoor Singh in the middle and the duo stitched 49 runs before the former was sent back by Thomas Aspinall.
Rasheed, who earned a tag of big match player after his 94 against Australia in the semifinals, once again stood tall for his team scoring a patient fifty. However, the dismissal of Rasheed and Dhull within a space of two overs gave some glimmer of hope for the English boys as India were down to 97 for 4 inside 30 overs.
But the Indian boys were not easily let the trophy go. Nishant Sindhu and Raj Bawa put on 68 runs for the fifth wickets to bring India closer to the victory. Sindhu completed his fifty while Dinesh Bana remained unbeaten on 13 as India lifted their fifth title.
Brief Scores: England U-19 189 all out in 44.5 overs (James Rew 95; Raj Bawa 5/31, Ravi Kumar 4/34) lost to India U-19 195 for 6 in 47.4 overs (Shaik Rasheed 50, Nishant Sindhu 50 not out, Raj Bawa 35; Joshua Boyden 2/24) by four wickets.
With PTI inputs