USA U19 produced the lowest Powerplay total of the tournament, ending the first 10 overs of their chase at 17 for 3 as they failed to muster any fightback following Arshin Kulkarni's first-innings 108 in a lopsided defeat to India.
File photo courtesy: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter/X @PeterDellaPenna
India U19s benefitted from a hit and miss fielding display by USA, no one more than opening batter Arshin Kulkarni who converted a dropped chance on 16 into a 110-ball century to lead his side to a 201-run defeat of USA on Sunday in the final match of Group A at the 2024 ICC Men’s U19 World Cup in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The result means that India topped the group with three runs from three matches and will carry four points forward to the Super Sixes stage while USA ended round-robin stage winless and will now fall into the last place playoff against Afghanistan on Wednesday.
USA U19 captain Rishi Ramesh won the toss and chose to send India U19s in to bat first as USA made one change to their starting lineup from the previous loss to Bangladesh. Batter Manav Nayak came into the XI in place of left-arm spinner Khush Bhalala.
USA had a golden opportunity to pounce on India early in the field as Arya Garg produced an edge off the bat of Adarsh Singh on the second ball of play, but the chance floated between the wicketkeeper and a slip fielder to pass for four runs to the boundary. It was a sign of things to come as fellow USA opening bowler Ateendra Subramanian induced a false drive from Kulkarni who was shelled on a simple chest high chance at mid-off after he had scratched his way to 16 off 35 balls, ultimately capitalizing for another 92 runs.
The 14 runs off the opening over of play wound up being the most that any USA bowler conceded in the match until the 50th
over as they quickly settled down and produced a disciplined effort to harness the defending U19 World Cup Champions. Adarsh eventually fell in the 12th
over driving a simple catch to Parth Patel at mid-off for 25 to make it 46 for 1.
Kulkarni was then joined by Musheer Khan and a partnership that should have been nipped in the bud for 10 runs instead prospered for a 155-run second-wicket stand thanks to the extra life given to Kulkarni, who reached his half-century off of 69 balls. Musheer was far more confident at the other end, playing a dashing knock to reach his 50 off 57 deliveries and looked certain for three figures until he fell for 73 off 76 balls in the 36th
over when he charged Ramesh’s legspin only to slice a low catch to Aarin Nadkarni on the ring at short third to make it 201 for 2.
India U19 captain Uday Saharan scored a brisk 35 off 27 balls to dominate a 56-run partnership with Kulkarni, during which Kulkarni reach three-figures with a boundary flicked off his pads through fine leg for a boundary off his 110th
delivery. The stand ended when Saharan sliced Garg high to Nayak on the ring at cover to make it 257 for 3 in the 43rd
. Kulkarni fell in the following over for 108 after dragging a slower ball from Subramanian to Patel at long-off.
Sachin Dhas scored 20 off 16 balls before becoming Nadkarni’s only victim of the day, pulling a slower length delivery to Nayak at long-on who took a sharp catch on the boundary to make it 301 for 5. Subramanian should have had a third wicket for the day in the 49th
over but a chance offered by Priyanshu Moliya was spilled at deep midwicket on 26. It opened the door for a 15-run final over conceded by Nadkarni to take India to their eventual total of 326 for 5.
Subramanian bowled the most impressive spell of the tournament for USA, ending with 1 for 17 and two maidens with seven overs using the new ball before finishing with 2 for 45 in 10. Garg extended his team-leading wicket haul for the tournament to six in three games after ending with 1 for 61. Nadkarni claimed 1 for 79 in his 10 while Ramesh filled in for Bhalala’s lost overs taking 1 for 40 in six overs of legspin.
In reply, USA produced a timid display, scratching to 17 for 3 in the first ten overs, which was comfortably the lowest Powerplay score produced in the 48 innings batted across the entire U19 World Cup during the group stage. Though India’s new-ball bowlers did not bowl with express pace, USA’s batters collectively stayed in their shell reluctant to play attacking shots. The lone exception was Ramesh’s two boundaries, including one off his first ball at the crease in the second over. By that stage USA was already two wickets down as Prannav Chettipalayam fell in the first over to Raj Limbani, bowled pushing at a length delivery for 2. Fellow opener Bhavya Mehta was bowled through the gate for a third-ball duck by a lovely inswinger from Naman Tiwari to make it 2 for 2.
Ramesh’s two boundaries were his only two scoring shots in 18 deliveries at the crease as India’s dot ball pressure continued to mount on USA until the captain tried an awkward attempt at playing a short ball from Tiwari only to offer a simple catch to square leg in the ring for 8 to make it 12 for 3 in the 8th
USA vice-captain Utkarsh Srivastava entered at No. 5 and helped save face with his 40 off 73 balls, which accounted for nearly a third of USA’s runs. He added 43 runs for the fourth wicket with Siddarth Kappa before Kappa fell in the 24th
over, slogging a length ball from Moliya’s spin straight up to mid-off for 18 to make it 55 for 4.
Srivastava continued to plug away and showcased his solid footwork to the spinners, shuffling across to paddle through fine leg as well as playing the orthodox sweep for boundaries before he eventually fell 10 short of a deserved half-century when he tried to flick a cutter from Tiwari at the start of his second spell only to produce a leading edge to cover making it 77 for 5 after 28. Nayak lasted just six deliveries in his first official match of the tournament in the XI, becoming Tiwari’s fourth victim in the 30th
over. Patel made 1 before he fell to spinner Murugan Abhishek by slicing a drive to cover to make it 90 for 7 in the 36th
With 14 overs left in the innings, USA’s middle and lower order focused on survival and batting out the rest of play. A rare outburst came from Nadkarni in the 44th
, when he slogged Moliya for back-to-back sixes over long-on. They wound up being USA’s only boundaries during the final 16 overs of play. Nadkarni eventually fell in the 49th
over for 20, trying for another six only to be caught at mid-on for Saumy Pandey’s only wicket of the day to make it 121 for 8.
Amogh Arepally ended 27 not out off 71 balls after entering at No. 6 to ensure USA was not bowled out. Subramanian finished unbeaten on 3 at the opposite end as USA ended on 125 for 8, a better score than they made against Ireland on the opening day of the tournament but still miles short of threatening India’s total.
Tiwari ended with 4 for 20 in nine overs including three maidens for India. Pandey bowled a very tidy spell of left-arm spin to end with 1 for 13 in ten overs with two maidens and never conceded a scoring shot other than a single. Opening pace bowler Limbani took 1 for 17 in six while spinners Murugan and Moliya claimed 1 for 22 in seven and 1 for 21 in four overs respectively.