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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cricket Double: India Lifts ICC U-19 World Cup, Team India Crush New Zealand In First Test!

Unmukt Chand!
The Indian team under-19 has won the ICC U-19 World Cup-2012 by beating defending champions Australia by 6 wickets with 14 balls to spare today at Townsville in north east coastal Australia. This is the third time that junior India has won the World Cup Under-19 after the triumphs in 2000 and in 2008. India’s chase becomes the biggest ever at this particular venue. Junior India skipper Unmukt Chand led from the front by making a superlative unbeaten century (111 off 130 balls) with productive contributions from Aparajith (33 off 38) and wicket-keeper Smit Patel (unbeaten 62 off 84).

The goings-on during the ICC U-19 World Cup-2012 played in Australia did not particularly interest cricket fans even in cricket-crazy India, because the antics of senior India or Team India only are followed normally with zeal and kill. But when junior India was to face Pakistan in the quarterfinals and when they beat Pakistan in a very close encounter to advance to the semifinals the right kind of atmosphere got created. Avid fans cheered on the Indian colts as they defeated New Zealand in another exciting match and entered the Final. The India-Australia Final was tantalizingly set up.

Put in to bat first Australia posted a competitive total of 225/8 in allotted fifty overs. For India pacer Sandeep Sharma captured 4 wickets with economical bowling by Aparajith who took one. The Indian chase was never off the target of 226 runs with the batsmen not allowing the asking rate to climb higher. At 97/4 the situation was fluid, but skipper Chand was already in full control and with an unbroken partnership of 130 runs with Smit Patel the World Cup was finally won for junior India. Chand was also crowned the Player of the Match award. The Scorecard:

India now enjoys the unique distinction of being World Champions at both junior and senior levels. Close watch over Chand and his star players is expected to be kept as to their future career prospects. The triumph in ICC U-19 World Cup-2000 played in Sri Lanka produced two cricketing stars in the form of Yuvraj Singh and Muhammad Kaif who went on to make Team India proud on various occasions. The triumph of 2008 in Malaysia produced none other than the sensational Virat Kohli who led his team of victory and who is now vice-captain in Team India. The nation celebrates the success of their young ones today.

And, as expected, Team India won the first Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad today by the huge margin of an innings and 115 runs. New Zealand on the fourth day today fought hard initially with dogged determination of  Brendon McCullum and Williamson who took the team score to 98 from the overnight 41/1 when  McCullum got out. Williamson became the fourth out at 138/4 and from that point it was a downhill journey with New Zealand losing all its 6 wickets for the addition of only 26 runs. Finally all out for just 164 they did no better than the first innings total of 159. The rain gods too were not too pleased with New Zealand’s lackluster performance!

R Ashwin! 
Spinner R Ashwin registered his fourth haul of five or more wickets by capturing 6 again and achieved a match haul of 12 wickets which is the best Indian bowling performance ever against New Zealand. He was the undisputed choice for the Player of the Match award. His partner in spin Pragyan Ojha somehow vindicated Dhoni’ persistence with him by capturing 3 again in the second innings and making a match haul of 6 wickets. The Scorecard: 

It turned out to be a super Sunday as far as cricket was concerned the double delight seemed to be enough to make the Indian cricket fans forget the past humiliations. In totality, this Sunday becomes a mixed one as the Indian film industry lost one of its most respected actors, AK Hangal.

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