Herwadkar and Jol power India into U-19 final

Darwin, Jul 9 (IANS): Opener Akhil Herwadkar and skipper skipper Vijay Jol have ensured that India are through to the final of the Under-19 international cricket series, powering past hosts Australia by seven wickets here at the Marrara Oval.

India, who had beaten Australia in their opening round robin match by 47 runs, remained unbeaten in the tournament and their last match against New Zealand Wednesday will decide their opponents in Friday's final.

Though Australia are in second place on a superior run rate, New Zealand can overtake them with a better performance in their last game of the series.

India beat the Black Caps by a whopping 165 runs in their first match.

Australia and New Zealand played two close matches, the former winning the first by 19 runs and the second by the latter by 24 runs.

The form the Indians have shown in the tournament made the task of the Australians difficult to upstage them in hot Darwin conditions.

After restricting Australia for 191 for six in their 50 overs, the Indians won untroubled with four overs to spare Monday.

Opener Akhil Herwadkar (60, 82 balls, 6 fours) and skipper skipper Vijay Jol (64, 93 balls, 7 fours) and their 128-run second-wicket stand more or less settled the issue. Sanju Samson (24) and Mohammad Saif (21) completed the formalities with an unfinished 46-run fourth-wicket stand.

Put in to bat, Australia were kept on a leash by some tight bowling by the Indians.

Matthew Short (34) and Tom Leaver (23) got off to a cautious start, but could not force the pace, offspinner Aamir Gani in particular tying them up to take 3/25 in his 10 overs.

Cameos from lower-order batsmen Jake Doran (41 off 52 balls) and Cam Valente (28 from 25 balls) boosted the total, but Australians' inability to get the ball past the infield made things difficult for them.

Speaking after the match, Australian coach Stuart Law said: "We understand that we're not quite where we want to be, but it doesn't just happen overnight. We've got to keep working really hard.

"In these games, you've got to be able to score runs at a fair pace and India have got some good batters; a few boys have played in the IPL already and have that experience. We've got some fantastic players too and as soon as they start understanding and believing in their ability, we should start scoring a lot more runs."

Brief scores:

Australia: 191 for 6 in 50 overs (Matthew Short 34, Tom Leaver 23, Jake Doran 41, Cam Valentine 28, Aamir Gani 3/25, Mohammad Saif 1/16, Deepak Hooda 1/36)

India: 192 for 3 in 45.4 overs (Akhil Herwadkar 60, Ankush Bains 20, Vijay Jol 64,Sanju Samson 24 not out, Saif 21 not out, Matthew Fotia 2/34, Matthew Short 1/10).


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