The title holders will face either New Zealand or Bangladesh in the final.
India stretched their consecutive wins in under-19 World Cups against Pakistan to four as they beat the arch-rivals in the semi-finals of the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Potchefstroom on Tuesday. With this win, India and Pakistan now have five wins apiece in under-19 World Cups with India winning each of the last four. The bullish 10-wicket victory had several moments of dominance from India and here we take a glance at the factors that helped them be as good as they were.
A bullying pace attack
Kartik Tyagi and Sushant Mishra delivered a crunching opening spell that set the tone for the semi-final clash. While Mishra was short and threatening, Tyagi tested the outside edge of the batsmen with consistent line and length. The Indian pacers had been as impressive as Pakistan's own pacers in the tournament. While Pakistan's pacers had 28 wickets in comparison to India's 19 this tournament, the averages were almost identical and India showcased their pace bowling strength by pushing Pakistan onto the back-foot with big blows early on. Mohammad Huraira was done in by Sushant Mishra while Fahad Munir was forced into a shell by the pacers with leggie Ravi Bishnoi reaping the benefits.
The spinners and Pakistan's familiar batting fumbles
India's spinners have been impressive in the tournament. Ravi Bishnoi and Atharva Ankolekar have tied up batsmen in the middle-overs and they did the same in this fixture as well. Even when Pakistan were re-building through Haider Ali and skipper Rohail Nazir, India found ways to keep the run-rate in check forcing the Pakistan batsmen to take risks to break the shackles. India cleverly pushed Jaiswal's leg-breaks at this point and Pakistan, seeing an opportunity to attack, tried to take him on only to lose a big wicket. Like with Pakistan's senior side, the juniors too found a way to mess up their middle-order as a run-out, with both batsmen ending on the same side, further dented their chances in the game.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and his sound partner
Since the end of the last under-19 World Cup, India's opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Divyaansh Saxena has scored the second most partnership runs behind Sri Lanka's opening pair despite playing 11 matches lesser than the Sri Lankans. Jaiswal and Saxena have put on 678 runs in 9 matches at an average of 96.85 (the best for any opening pair in this phase with at least 150 runs together). They have had four century partnerships, converting four of their five fifty-plus stands to century stands. None of the other three stands were as good as the unbroken 176 partnership at the top against Pakistan on Tuesday. Even if the target was small, India had to get off to a good start and the openers ensured the middle-order wouldn't even come into play as they pushed past a hapless Pakistan unit to take India to their second successive final in two youth World Cups.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter/ @cricketworldcup