U19 Men's Cricket WC: India and Australia set to renew rivalry in final

Benoni (South Africa), February 9 (IANS): Five-time winners India will be hoping to add another crown and enhance their trophy cabinet with their sixth title when they take on three-time champions Australia in the final of the ICC Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup 2024 here on Sunday.

India and Australia will once again compete for the silver medal after an impressive round of semi-final matches at Willowmoor Park, Benoni.

India secured their place in the final by defeating hosts South Africa by two wickets in a tense match on Tuesday. Chasing 245 to win, India staged a strong comeback from 32 for four thanks to a brilliant match-winning partnership between Sachin Dhaas and captain Uday Saharan to pull off a memorable win.

Thursday's second semi-final was also no less than drama as Australia emerged victorious against Pakistan by one wicket in the final over of the contest. After bowling out Pakistan for a minimum score of 179 runs, Australia faltered in their chase before their middle and lower order built crucial partnerships that helped them take the lead in thrilling fashion.

Both India and Australia are undefeated in the finals, have topped their respective groups in both the preliminary stage and Super Six stage, and can boast some of the most exciting young talent on the planet.

Future stars who have impressed throughout the competition include India captain Uday Saharan and Australia's Hugh Wiebgen, and both have their sights set on lifting the coveted trophy on Sunday.

Speaking before the final, India captain, Uday Saharan said: “As we approach the World Cup final, we are carrying the dreams of billions of hearts on our shoulders. Our journey has been a testament to our hard work, unity and love for the game.

“In this final battle, our goal is to create a legacy that inspires the next generation. It's not just a game; This is your chance to register your name in history.

“Right from our first game, we have played with passion, determination and belief that we will bring home the coveted title. In the final, it is going to be no different against Australia as we move one step closer to successfully defending the title. Together, as a team, as a nation, we will enter the final, ready to seize our moment and make India proud,” he said.

“As a captain, I couldn't have asked for anything more from my team as we stand on the brink of making history.”

Australian captain Hugh Wiebgen is also ready to face India.

“We are really happy to make the final after a close match against Pakistan and we can't wait to face India in the final on Sunday.

“The entire team has done a fantastic job throughout the tournament and lifting the trophy on Sunday will mean a lot to us as a group. This is an opportunity to make our coaches as well as family and friends extremely proud. They have helped and supported us throughout the journey.

He said, “India has also had a great tournament so far and they are a class team. “We’re expecting them to challenge us and we’re looking forward to it.”

India and Australia have met twice before in the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup final, with India winning on both previous occasions in 2012 and 2018.

The official appointments for Sunday's final have also been confirmed, with Allahuddin Palekar and Langton Russere selected as on-field umpires. Rashid Riaz will play the role of TV umpire, while Roland Black will play the role of fourth umpire and Shaid Wadwalla will play the role of match referee.

The on-field action will be accompanied by a vibrant festive atmosphere, with live music and entertainment on offer that promises to be a memorable display of cricket.

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