It was a huge night for India's under-19 side in South Africa as they thumped their Australian counterparts in the Super League quarterfinals at Potchefstroom. Favorites to retain the World title from 2018, India had an early challenge in the knockout phase as they ran into a pretty strong Aussie outfit. However, much like in the 2012 and 2018 finals of the same tournament, the Indian colts emerged on top on Tuesday night.
The standout factors in the win for the India under-19 side was also a lesson for India's senior side.
Rebuilding from a collapse
Remember when India were 5/3 in the World Cup semi-final at Manchester in 2019? Chasing 240 for victory, Virat Kohli's men got stuck in a rut at five for three and later 24/4 and never really quite recovered. Rebuilding from a collapse in crunch games has been a skill the senior side has sorely lacked.
But the colts put up an exhibition on exactly how to do that at Senwes Park on Tuesday. At 54 for 3, India were in a spot of bother but Yashasvi Jaiswal and Dhruv Jurel rebuilt a bit before Jaiswal was dismissed. Later in the innings, the lower order stepped up with Atharva Ankolekar and Ravi Bishnoi guiding India to a total of respectability. Every single batsman from position 5-8 faced over 30 balls to help in the rebuild process, underlining that coming back from a collapse has always got to be a team effort.
Striking back early
If there's one thing the colts have shown this World Cup, it is that striking with the new ball is a huge advantage, especially in big games. Kartik Tyagi embodied the spirit of the India youth side as he rushed some of the best under-19 batsmen in the tournament with his skills. At 17 for four and later 68 for five, Australia were forced into a shell, a pre-requisite to win matches if you are defending low totals.
India's senior side have had trouble being as bullish in big matches and it has seen them struggle to nail knockout matches. Since the 2013 Champions Trophy triumph, India's senior side do not have a title win in ICC tournaments.
The all-round bowling effort
Ever felt India's senior side are too reliant on Jasprit Bumrah in ODIs and T20Is? The exceptional limited-overs bowler has covered up for the likes of Khaleel Ahmed and Shardul Thakur with his irresistible consistency with the ball in hand. But what happens when he has an off-day or is out injured? India mostly struggle to contain the opposition is the simple answer.
The colts have shown that depending on a whole bunch of bowlers rather than on one bowler. Ravi Bishnoi and Kartik Tyagi have 11 and 9 wickets in this tournament so far while Akash Singh has 7. Ankolekar has picked up three wickets in two matches. There are two Indians among the top five wicket-takers in this tournament and the other bowlers aren't too far behind, suggesting that they work as a pack.
Against the Aussies, each of India's six bowlers used went at an economy of less than six, turning the pressure on the Aussies. Three of them shared the spoils on the wickets column, and the fielders backed up the bowlers with two run-outs. An all-round show in the second innings helped the defending champions surge to the semi-finals after being pushed to a corner in the first innings. That, if anything, is something the senior side can take cue from.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter/ @cricketworldcup