POTCHEFSTROOM                  -                 Yashasvi Jaiswal batted with composure beyond his age after bowlers clicked collectively as an unit to guide defending champions India to an impressive 10-wicket win as the boys in blue entered their seventh ICC U-19 World Cup final on Tuesday.

The win in Potchefstroom has ensured India complete a hat-trick of final appearances at the tournament. This was also the first time in the tournament’s history that a side has won by 10 wickets in a knockout match. India will face New Zealand or Bangladesh on Sunday.

The gulf in class between the two sides was evident as Indian bowlers restricted Pakistan to a paltry 172 in 43.1 overs. Left-handed opener Jaiswal then showed his class with an unbeaten knock of 105 off 113 balls, with an equally graceful Divyaansh Saxena (59 not out off 99 balls) supporting him in an easy chase completed in only 35.2 overs. Jaiswal literally toyed with the bowling attack, hitting the Pakistani bowlers towards all parts of the ground but not before he got his eye in the first powerplay. The youngest double centurion in List A cricket finished the game with a six, which also completed his hundred, his first of the tournament.

The Pakistan bowling attack was clueless and didn’t have much answers to the drives that flowed from the Indian openers’ bats. In hindsight, the match as a contest was all but over in the first half when Pakistani batsmen had no answer to Tyagi’s pace and Ravi Bishnoi’s variations. Pacer Tyagi (2/32 in 8 overs) bowled yorkers at will while leg-spinner Bishnoi (2/46 in 10 overs) was a difficult proposition to read for the Pakistani batsmen after opting to bat.

Pakistan skipper Rohail Nazir (62 off 102 balls) and opener Haider Ali (56 off 77 balls) were the only ones to make significant contributions as their innings lasted 43.1 overs. While Tyagi’s scorching pace and Bishnoi’s googlies were eye-catching, left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar (1/29 in 7 overs), left-arm seamer Sushant Mishra (3/28 in 8.1 overs) and part-time leg-spinner Jaiswal (1/11 in 3 overs) also kept the rival batsmen under check. Tyagi bowled an inswinging yorker wide off the crease to uproot Irfan Khan’s off-stump and then got his second wicket with an intimidating bouncer that removed tail-ender Tahir Hussain. He aimed for the base of the stumps with deliveries constantly, tailing the ball back in.

India have earlier reached the summit clash in 2000 (winners), 2006 (runners-up), 2008 (winners), 2012 (winners), 2016 (runners-up) and 2018 (winners). The current batch with key players, having already played senior representative cricket and five with IPL deals in their bag, showed the difference in skill level and application from their opponents, an aspect that could be attributed to the robust junior cricket structure put in place by Rahul Dravid and his team.

BRIEF SCORES

INDIA 176 for 0 (Jaiswal 105 not out, Saxena 59 not out) beat PAKISTAN 172 (Nazir 62, Haider 56, Mishra 3-28, Tyagi 2-32, Bishnoi 2-46) by 10 wickets.