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India Vs Australia Final, ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup: Three Key Player Battles

The India colts will be aiming to heal the scars from the 2023 ODI World Cup final defeat against Australia, when they take the field in the title clash of ICC's marquee biennial Under-19 tournament. Here are three key player battles that can shape the outcome of the IND vs AUS match

Photo: ICC
Musheer Khan celebrates his century during the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2024 match between India and Ireland at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Photo: ICC
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There is an uneasy sense of deja vu that pervades the Indian cricket fan right now. India are taking on Australia in a World Cup final again, albeit in the Under-19 category. We all remember what happened on November 19, 2023 at the 2023 ODI World Cup. Every Indian supporter is hoping there is no encore for the Aussies in Benoni on Sunday, February 11, 2024. (Streaming | More Cricket News)

They can take solace from the grit Uday Saharan and Co displayed in the semi-final to get here. Unlike their senior counterparts, who had a dream-like, invincible campaign into the 2023 World Cup final, the India colts had to endure a nerve-wracking semi-final against hosts South Africa to pull through.

Chasing 245 for victory, India were tottering at 32-4, when a brilliant match-winning partnership between Sachin Dhas and captain Saharan rescued the five-time winners and took them into their ninth final.

Australia too got through by the skin of their teeth. They beat Pakistan by a solitary wicket in the final over of the semi-final contest. Having bowled out Pakistan for a seemingly below-par total of 179, the Aussies stuttered in their chase before their middle and lower order forged vital partnerships to help them edge home in thrilling fashion.

Ahead of the all-important final, Saharan said: “Right from our first game, we have played with passion, determination, and a belief that we will get the coveted title home. In the final, against Australia, it is going to be no different as we go one step closer to defending the title successfully. Together, as one team, one nation, we march into the final, ready to seize our moment and make India proud."

His adversary, Australia captain Hugh Weibgen said: “The whole squad has done a terrific job throughout the tournament, and it would mean so much to us as a group to lift the trophy on Sunday. India have obviously also had an outstanding tournament so far and are a class team. We're expecting they will provide a challenge for us, and we are looking forward to it.”

Head-To-Head Record

When it comes to the last five encounters between the two teams, India hold the wood over Australia. The Boys In Blue have won four of the previous five clashes, while one was abandoned due to rain in Visakhapatnam.

India also have an encouraging track record against the Aussies in the ICC Men's Under-19 Cricket World Cup title clashes, winning the 2012 and 2018 finals by six and eight wickets, respectively.

Squads

India U-19: Arshin Kulkarni, Adarsh Singh, Rudra Mayur Patel, Sachin Dhas, Priyanshu Moliya, Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan (captain), Aravelly Avanish Rao, Saumy Kumar Pandey, Murugan Abhishek, Innesh Mahajan, Dhanush Gowda, Aaradhya Shukla, Raj Limbani, Naman Tiwari.

Australia U-19: Hugh Weibgen (captain), Lachlan Aitken, Charlie Anderson, Harkirat Bajwa, Mahli Beardman, Tom Campbell, Harry Dixon, Ryan Hicks, Sam Konstas, Rafael MacMillan, Aidan O'Connor, Harjas Singh, Tom Straker, Callum Vidler, Ollie Peake.

Here are three key player battles that can shape the outcome of the IND vs AUS final at the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2024:-

Uday Saharan Vs Tom Straker

If these two players are to carry their form from the semi-finals into Sunday's match, we have a cracking contest on our hands. Uday Saharan, together with Sachin Dhas, had lifted India from a dire situation to victory. Tom Straker, on the other hand, had wreaked havoc for the Pakistani batting order, scalping six wickets for just 24 runs in a dream performance.

The Indian skipper is the highest run-scorer in the tournament (389 runs, average of 64.83) In the summit meet, Saharan would again have the responsibility of playing a captain's knock and warding off threats from the Aussie seamers. Straker could be the biggest roadblock in doing that.

Musheer Khan Vs Callum Vidler

The 18-year-old brother of fresh India recruit Sarfaraz Khan, Musheer fell cheaply in the semi-final. But he has a strong tournament behind him, where has piled on 338 runs at an average of 67.60, and a strike rate of 101.19 in six innings. Musheer has struck two hundreds and has a highest score of 131.

He will eye another knockout performance in the final, but will have Callum Vidler, Australia's most consistent performer with the ball in the World Cup, to contend with. The right-arm seamer has bagged 12 wickets in the tourney and 17 off his previous seven games, and will be eager to see the back of Musheer early to unsettle the Indian batting.

Saumy Pandey Vs Hugh Weibgen

The left-arm spin of Saumy Pandey has flummoxed batters galore in the competition. He has bagged 17 wickets in the marquee tournament and 26 in his previous eight games at a fabulous economy rate of 2.82 and strike rate of 18.19. India's best bowler in this edition of the World Cup by far, Saumy will look to make timely inroads and keep things quiet again.

But it might be a tough task against Aussie skipper Weibgen, who has been among the runs and in good nick all through. The top-order batter scored a century against England in Kimberley and has amassed 256 runs at an average of 51.20. He will look to anchor the innings and prevent Saumy from running away with the middle overs contest.

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