Kuala Lumpur, Feb 25: India's young hopefuls moved one step closer to their dream of winning the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup on Sunday with an impressive victory over an outclassed England side at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur.
Just like in its disappointing Group D defeat to Bangladesh on Friday, it was England's batting that let it down as, having been put into bat by India captain Virat Kohli, the bowlers quickly dominated.
Although England did not lose many early wickets, the top order batsmen found it difficult to get the tight bowling of Pradeep Sangwan and Ajitesh Argal away and top three Billy Godleman, James Taylor and Alex Wakely all scored with strike-rates below 50 runs per 100 balls.
And then came the collapse. From a solid -- if somewhat pedestrian -- start England crashed from 73-1 and then 106-3 to 146 all out with only Taylor (41) sticking around long enough to post a significant score.
While left-arm swing bowler Sangwan has been probably India's top performer in the tournament so far, the wickets were shared around more evenly today with left-arm spinner Abdullah Iqbal (3-29) registering the best figures.
Just as they did when chasing a similar target against South Africa in a Group B game, India's openers set about the run chase cautiously, but effectively, not trying to smash the ball around the part but patiently waiting for the bad balls and making sure they picked up their singles with some good running between the wickets.
Taruwar Kohli carried his bat through the innings and finished unbeaten on 63 as India coasted home with seven wickets and 10.5 overs to spare. India will now face the winner of Monday's quarter-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand [Images] in the semi-final on Wednesday.
In the other Super League quarter-final of the day, South Africa moved into the last four with an emphatic victory over Bangladesh at Bayuemas. Captain Wayne Parnell almost did it on his own for the junior Proteas as first he top scored with 57 to make sure his side reached the competitive total of 242-8 and then he ripped through the Bangladesh batting, ending with remarkable figures of 6-8.
Needless to say, the big all-rounder took the man-of-the-match accolade because it was his innings, in partnership with Jonathan Vandiar (45), that gave the SA total respectability when the top order had failed. At one stage, South Africa looked shaky on 141-6 but Parnell's knock made all the difference.
And in reply Bangladesh was never in the game, losing wickets from the very first over. In the end it took just 11.5 overs to dismiss Bangladesh in a clinical display from the South Africa attack. Its prize is a semi-final place against Pakistan or Australia at the Kinrara Oval on Friday.
Meanwhile, in Johor, the Plate Championship got underway with Namibia beating host Malaysia by nine wickets and defending Plate champion Nepal adding Zimbabwe to its growing number of Full Member scalps, winning that encounter by 99 runs.
In the previous Under-19 World Cup, Nepal beat South Africa and New Zealand on its way to lifting the Plate and not many would bet against it doing a similar job this time around. Although Nepal's batsmen only managed to make 158 all out thanks to some excellent bowling from Zimbabwe's Stewart Matsika and Edzai Jaure, both of whom took 3-34, it was Nepal's bowlers who ultimately won the day.
Not for the first time, Nepal showed its class with the ball as skipper Paras Khadka (3-13), Amrit Bhattarai (3-14), Raj Shreshtha (3-16) made Zimbabwe suffer as the Africans collapsed to 59 all out. Nepal will play Namibia in Tuesday's Plate semi-final in what should be an intriguing match-up of Nepal's dominant bowling and Namibia's strong batting.
Crucial among that fine batting line-up will be captain Dawid Botha, who scored an unbeaten 55 off 48 balls to make sure his side beat Malaysia at the Johor Cricket Academy. Botha was well supported by Raymond van Schoor (60 not out) who played a more contained innings, coming as it did off 96 deliveries.
Earlier, Malaysia had been reduced to 144 all out with only captain Ahmad Faiz (41) making any real impact.
On Monday Pakistan plays Australia in the Super League quarter-final at the Kinrara Oval while Sri Lanka faces New Zealand at the Royal Selangor Club to complete the semi-final line-up.
In the Plate Championship, Ireland has a tough task as it takes on favourite West Indies at MPTI in Johor while the game between Bermuda and Papua New Guinea at Johor Cricket Academy completes the schedule.