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Last Updated Saturday May 26 2018 04:06 PM IST

U-19 World Cup: Kalra ton fires India to record fourth title

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Manjot Kalra Manjot Kalra sends one to the fence. Twitter

Mount Maunganui: India lifted a record fourth U-19 World Cup trophy after an eight-wicket rout of Australia in the final on Saturday, underlining their dominant run in the tournament and giving Rahul Dravid the biggest success of his coaching career.

As it has been the case through out the tournament, India had all their bases covered with bowlers' bouncing backing to dismiss Australia for 216 from 183 for four at one stage.

The highly-rated batting completed the job with conviction as India chased down the modest target in 38.5 overs.

Delhi-boy Manjot Kalra emerged as the man for big occasion, scoring a sublime 101 not out off 102 balls and anchoring the innings after the loss of skipper Prithvi Shaw and team's leading scorer in the tournament, Shubman Gil.

With a fourth crown, India surpassed Australia in the race of most U-19 World Cup titles. Prior to the final, India and Australia were locked at three titles each.

  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Indian players pose with the U-19 World Cup trophy. Photo: @ICC

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Kamlesh Nagarkoti celebrates after taking a wicket against Australia. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Abhishek Sharma in action during the U-19 World Cup final against Australia. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Australia's Jonathan Merlo in action during the U-19 World Cup final against India. Photo: @ICC

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Anukul Roy, right, celebrates with teammate Harvik Desai after taking a wicket against Australia. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Shubman Gill reacts during the U-19 World Cup final against Australia. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Manjot Kalra celebrates after scoring a half-century against Australia. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    India's Manjot Kalra plays a shot during the U-19 World Cup final against Australia. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Manjot Kalra, left, and Harvik Desai during the U-19 World Cup final. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme
  • Boys in Blue reign supreme

    Indian players celebrate after their triumph over Australia. Photo: @BCCI

    Boys in Blue reign supreme

The team's performance was also a fitting tribute to coach Dravid, who finally got his hands on a World Cup trophy. Under Dravid, the side had finished runner-up in the 2016 edition in Bangladesh.

India's previous title came in Australia six years ago when the Unmukt Chand-led team beat the hosts in the final.

No dearth of support Keralites cheer Team India during the final. Screengrab

The Virat Kohli-led side was victorious in 2008 and Mohammed Kaif was captain when India triumphed way back in 2000.

In the current edition, India were the overwhelming favorites and they played like one, dishing out dominant performances one after the other.

The gulf between them and other teams was clearly evident. In the playing eleven of the final, India fielded five players with First-Class experience while Australia had just one in captain Jason Sangha.

Having lost skipper Shaw (29) and Gill (31), Kalra displayed commendable calm and composure to see the team through.

Harvik Desai (47 not out) provided the support Kalra needed after India were 131 for two in the 22nd over, needing another 86 for victory.

Kalra, who had smashed a match-winning 86 against Australia in the tournament opener, was in devastating touch again.

He hammered the spinners for huge sixes and showed his silken touch by beautifully driving the pacers through covers.

In the end, he finished with eight fours and three sixes. It was only fitting that he reached the three figures in the last over of the final. Desai hit the winning boundary, sending the team members and the packed crowd into frenzy.

Earlier, Jonathan Merlo made a solid 76 before the India's left-arm spin duo of Shiva Singh and Anukul Roy sprung into action, limiting Australia to 216.

At 183 for four, Australia looked well on course to reach 250 in a high-pressure match until the Indian spinners engineered the collapse with the Sangha-led side losing its last six wickets for 33 runs.

Australia, who had little hesitation in batting first, were guilty of not converting starts into big partnerships.

Merlo and Param Uppal (34) were involved in a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket before the innings' top-scorer shared 49-runs with Nathan McSweeney (23) to set the platform for a competitive total.

However, the momentum shifted hugely into India's favor when Shiva (2/36) set up Sweeney to have the batsman caught and bowled, leaving Australia at 183 for five.

Earlier, India's leading wicket-taker in the event, Anukul Roy (2/32), had sent back Uppal in similar fashion as offered a simple catch back to the bowler while attempting to play against the spin.

While Indian spinners delivered under pressure in the middle overs, the pacers were impressive again upfront and towards the end.

Hitting through the line was not easy as the surface was on the slower side. The best example of that was the dismissal of openers Jack Edwards (28) and Max Bryant (14).

Pacer Ishan Porel (2/30) got rid of both the openers who punched a rising ball straight to cover.

Kamlesh Nagarkoti (2/41), another find for India in the tournament, removed Sangha (13) with a ball that moved away just enough to take the edge to the wicket-keeper.

Nagarkoti along with Shivam Mavi (1/46) also helped in polishing off the tail after Shiva's accurate throw from deep had Baxter Bolt run out on 13.

Read more: Sports | Cricket | Injured Faf du Plessis ruled out of India series

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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