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…seamers Bawa and Ravi prove too hot for England
India 195 for 6 (Sindhu 50*, Rasheed 50, Boyden 2-24) beat England 189 all out (Rew 95, Bawa 5-31, Ravi 3-34) by four wickets
(CRICINFO) It was India’s seamers, not spinners, in the U-19 World Cup final who plotted England’s downfall as Raj Bawa and Ravi Kumar produced match-winning bowling performances to share nine wickets and dismiss their opponents for 189. Bawa’s 5 for 31 was the best bowling performance in an U-19 World Cup final ever, while Ravi finished with 4 for 34.
Even though India won by only four wickets, they were always ahead of the chase. Shaik Rasheed hit a fifty, Nishant Sindhu stayed unbeaten on 50 too and Bawa made a crucial 35. And as it is often with Indians at World Cup finals, it was a wicketkeeper who hit a six to seal the World Cup title. Although England did strike with wickets that prevented India from posting big partnerships, the modest target of 190 put very little pressure on them. That England even reached 189 was courtesy James Rew’s valiant 95 that rescued England from 91 for 7 after Tom Prest chose to bat at the toss.
England’s troubles started early when Ravi found some movement in the morning, assisted in part by a bit of overnight rain in Antigua. He had Jacob Bethell lbw with a full ball in the second over and then had Prest chopping an attempted pull onto his stumps.
George Thomas, who scored a half-century in the semi-final, attacked right-arm seamer Rajvardhan Hangargekar from the other end even though Ravi was among the wickets early. He smacked Hangargekar for a 16-run over early, however, fell for a 30-ball 27 when Bawa came in at first change. Bawa pitched the ball up, and Thomas tried to mow one across the line, only to miscue a skyer to cover.
Rew and William Luxton were left with the task of starting England’s recovery, but they could last only 16 balls together as Bawa struck two more times in consecutive deliveries. Bawa found some extra bounce to a wide-ish ball, and Luxton went chasing only to edge it to the wicketkeeper Dinesh Bana. George Bell was gone for a duck when Bawa welcomed him with a short ball for his very first delivery, and all he could do was glove it to Bana trying to block off the back foot. From 45 for 5, England were soon 91 for 7 following the wickets of Rehan Ahmed (caught behind off Bawa) and Alex Horton (caught at midwicket to offspinner Kaushal Tambe).
With England heading towards being bowled out for a sub-120 score, it was left to Rew, the last recognised batter, to add some runs. He joined hands with No. 9 James Sales to build a stand, and together they added 93 runs together. Rew was the attacker in the partnership, increasing his tempo as England crossed hundred, 125, 150 and then 175. Even Vicky Ostwal, the economical left-arm spinner, went for 5.16 per over as Rew preferred pulling off the back foot or going over midwicket. In fact, as England went past 180, it appeared like it was game on with India probably needing to chase a target in the range of 225-240.
But that’s where it all went wrong again. Rew, on 95, pulled a harmless Ravi delivery to a fumbling-tumbling-juggling Tambe at deep midwicket while Thomas Aspinwall became Ravi’s fourth scalp three balls later. From the other end, Bawa combined with Bana once more to take his fifth-wicket haul, and England failed to bat 31 crucial deliveries, all out for 189 in 44.5 overs. The consistent left-arm swing bowler Boyden lifted England early in the chase when the in-form Raghuvanshi was caught behind for a duck, but he, or the other seamers, failed to get a second quick wicket despite accumulating the dot balls. With Harnoor Singh and Rasheed happy to bide their time, it was a waiting game for England as they looked to wait for the error. That finally came in the 18th over, with the score at 49 for 1, when Harnoor gloved a short ball from Aspinwall to the keeper.
That brought the captain Dhull together with his vice-captain Rasheed. They had put together a double-century stand in the semi-final and looked to attack England’s spinners. Rasheed used his wrists to flick off his pads and stood tall to crunch cuts or drives through the off side. Rasheed moved to fifty in the 27th over, but fell moments after, caught on the leg side after a wild heave off Sales. The bowler then removed Dhull for 17 to give England a tiny glimmer of hope as India lost their fourth wicket for under hundred.
Sindhu and Bawa, though, counter-attacked instead. Bawa hit two sixes and one four while Sindhu also went over cover or midwicket. Two catches sent Bawa and Kaushal Tambe packing before India could go over the line, but there were enough runs left for Sindhu to reach his half-century. He did that, after which Bana wasted no time to hit back-to-back sixes. The first one went over deep square leg. The second one soared over long, and even before it landed, the camera panned towards the India players running in to celebrate.