The West Indies Under-19 team celebrates after winning the ICC Under-19 World Cup today in Bangladesh.
The West Indies won the Under-19 World Cup for the first time in their history after beating India by five wickets – with only three balls to spare – in Dhaka.
India, whose had not lost a youth ODI in the two years since the last tournament, were put in to bat on a green surface by the West Indies captain, Shimron Hetmyer. Under relentless pressure from sharp, accurate bowling, the home side crawled to a meagre 145 all out in just over 45 overs.
Alzarri Joseph, the right-arm medium-quick, knocked over the top three of Rishabh Pant – brilliantly stumped by Tevin Imlach standing back – Ishan Kishan and Anmolpreet Singh to leave India struggling at 27 for three. Soon after, Joseph caught Washington Sundar off the bowling of Ryan John for seven and Arman Jaffer drove Shamar Springer straight to Keemo Paul at cover to turn a struggle into a near-crisis at 50 for five.
Sarfaraz Khan, the 18-year-old No5, offered resistance with little support: his 89-ball 51 by far the highest score in the innings and one of only three in double figures. He will have been grateful to Mahipal Lomror, at least, for providing a 43-ball resistance if not the 19 runs that came with it.
Curiously the West Indies’ two best bowlers in the match – Joseph and John – finished with near identical figures: the former taking three wickets for 39 with no maidens in his 10 overs and the latter conceding one one run fewer.
India matched the West Indians for accuracy and some excellent tight bowling kept the run-rate below three for the innings. Mayank Dagar was the best of their bowlers, as the batsmen struggled to read his slow left-armers and he finished with three for 25 from his allocation. He was ably supported, too, by Avesh Khan (one for 29) and Sundar (no wicket for 18 from nine).
Avesh and Ahmed both struck early, the former having Gidron Pope caught by the latter for three in the third over, before Imlach was caught by Lomror off Ahmed for 15, leaving the West Indies 28 for two.
Hetmyer and Keacy Carty steadied the innings with a patient partnership of 39 but the captain holing out to long-on precipitated a mini-collapse of three for 10 that frayed West Indies nerves.
Dagar dismissed Springer for three then caught Jyd Goolie off his own bowling for the same to make it 77 for five.
However Carty remained both calm and belligerent. He hit only two boundaries in his 125-ball 52 and well supported by Paul’s 40 from 68, he guided the West Indies home.
Jason Holder, the West Indies Test and ODI captain, praised the youth team after the match. “What a team! These guys showed the depth and balance of their side. Stuck together in tough times and now can celebrate this moment.#champs” he wrote on Twitter, adding “I’m a Proud West Indian today and we must CELEBRATE this wonderful achievement as these guys have done a lot for our region. #2016champions”.
India 145 (45.1 ov); West Indies 146-5 (49.3 ov)
West Indies win by five wickets with only three balls remaining