Under 19 World Cup: Dravid's Boys Made History
Indian u-19 team poses with the Trophy after the win against Australia.
It was Harvik Desai, who hit the winning boundary in the final to overpower Australia by eight wickets to claim the ICC U19 World Cup for the record fourth time, which was previously won by Mohammad Kaif (2000), the current senior team captain, Virat Kohli (2008) and Unmukt Chand (2012).
Indians were unbeaten throughout the competition where 16 teams participated in New Zealand. Chasing a relatively reasonable target, India started their chase with a flier where Manjot Kalra and captain Prithvi Shaw recorded 71 runs stand for the opening wicket. The rolling game paused soon after 4 overs with the monsoon rain, but the players maintained their focus to build a good platform for the other batsmen. It was Kalra and Desai, who chased down the 217 runs with ease with a 102 ball 101* from Kalra. Manjot Kalra was in blistering form and he even took Australian pacer, Zak Evans for a six off a free hit. He got his fifty in 47 balls and the left-hander looked in fine touch for the final show.
Earlier, Australia setup a total of 216 which was a modest one despite Jonathan Merlo's 102 ball 76. His 76 run consisted of six boundaries but no real support was given by the other batsmen. India always had the psychological edge over Australia before the final, having beaten them earlier in the tournament opener by 100 runs.
The whole team charged into the pitch after the winning boundary by Harvik Desai. Some plucked out the stumps where some took out the centurion, Manjot Kalra in UFC style. A Bharat Army flag was brought to the pitch by some Indians for the celebration.
During the presentation ceremony, Rahul Dravid the Indian coach said, "I am really proud of the boys, proud of the effort that they have put in and proud of the support staff as well. I think the effort we have put in over the last 14 months have been sensational. We try and do what's best for the kids and hopefully they can put in the performances on the field and they have certainly done that in this tournament."
Manjot Kalra was selected as Man of the Match and he said, "Great feeling. Enjoyed a lot. Conditions were very good. It was a flat wicket to bat on. In the team, it's been a great environment."
Shubman Gill was adjudged as the Man of the Series for his batting efforts (372 runs) throughout the tournament. Gill said, "I am really proud of my team. We were fortunate enough to have Rahul as coach. He was just telling me to express my game and keep it on the ground. Had a good time here. It's been very exciting for me. Hope to do well in IPL also."
Indian skipper, Prithvi Shaw was on cloud nine after the win and he said, "All credit to our support staff for really supporting us for the last two years. Rahul Sir himself is a legend, the Wall we call him. It was a crucial hundred from Manjot. Gill was batting so well. Both pacers, Kamlesh and Mavi, have been executing things so well through the tournament. It's been wonderful playing matches here."
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) offered the winning team a huge amount, with Coach Dravid receiving five million rupees ($ 78,000) and each player ($ 47,000). In the midst of the nation cheering and blowing victory trumpets, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted proudly, "Absolutely thrilled by the stupendous achievement of our young cricketers. Congratulations to them on winning the Under-19 World Cup. This triumph makes every Indian extremely proud."
The internet is flooded with wishes from all over the world, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and others expressed their congratulatory messages:
In a short video clip, Sachin Tendulkar congratulated the Indian team and says, "WITH GREAT TEAM WORK, BIG DREAMS WORK. Congratulations to our WORLD CHAMPIONS!! We are proud of you. A big congratulations to Rahul and Paras for their guidance".
"What a win for the U19 boys, take it as a stepping stone; Long long way to go! Enjoy the moment!", Virat Kohli tweeted.