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India Under-19 (U19) team, led by the great Rahul Dravid, have displayed a flawless and ruthless brand of cricket in the ICC U19 World Cup in New Zealand so far and as expected are through to the final of the tournament and will face Australia U-19, which will be played on February 3 (Saturday) at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.
The Indian colts will take on Australia in the final, a team which they beat by a margin of 100 runs in their tournament opener last month. Led by young prodigy Prithvi Shaw, India have been the form team in New Zealand and go into the final on the back of an impressive unbeaten run in the World Cup.
After losing their first game to India, Australia have recovered well and beaten every team that they faced since then.
Ahead of the big final on Saturday, we take a look at the predicted lineups of both teams:
India U19 Predicted XI
1. Prithvi Shaw (Captain)
Captain Prithvi Shaw has led his team from the front in the tournament so far and has provided blistering starts for India at the top of the order in almost every game. Having failed to get a hundred in the first five matches, Shaw will be eyeing a big one in the final and lift the trophy on Saturday.
2. Manjot Kalra
The 19-year-old Delhi batsman has been an able partner for captain Prithvi and has the ability to hit the ball out of the park right from the word go. Manjot played a sublime knock of 86 runs in India’s tournament opener against Australia and will be expected to do the same in the final once again.
3. Shubman Gill
The only Indian batsman to have scored a century in the World Cup, Shubman Gill is also the leading run-getter for his team at the showpiece event. With a strike-rate of over 100, Shubman will certainly be the danger man for Australia in the final as he can take the game away from them if not dismissed cheaply.
4. Harvik Desai (wk)
Having replaced Aryan Juyal as the wicket-keeper after the first two games, Harvik Desai has cemented his place in the side as India’s first-choice behind the stumps. He is also a solid middle-order batsman.
5. Riyan Prayag
Like Harvik Desai, Riyan Prayag was also drafted into the side only after the opening two matches of the campaign and has been a useful addition in the team. Prayag’s all-round abilities could be of great use to captain Prithvi in the final.
6. Abhishek Sharma
The 17-year-old southpaw is India’s designated finisher in the side and has made some very handy contributions with the bat lower down the order for his team. Abhishek possesses the talent to play a blinder in the death overs and finish the innings strongly.
7. Anukul Sudhakar Roy
With 12 wickets in first five matches of the tournament, Anukul Roy is India’s highest wicket-taker in the World Cup with a best of 5/14 against Papua New Guinea. Anukul’s left-arm spin bowling in the middle-overs will once again be key for India in the final.
8. Kamlesh Nagarkoti
The man who has impressed the most among India’s bowlers, Nagarkoti has rattled the opposition batsman with sheer pace at the World Cup and has the ability to bowl at above 140 kmph consistently, a quality that is rarely seen among Indian bowlers.
9. Shivam Mavi
Young Shivam Mavi is India’s bowling spearhead and like Nagarkoti, he has also hit the 140 mark consistently in the tournament. With 8 wickets to his name, Mavi will look to finish the World Cup on a high. Incidentally, both Nagarkoti and Mavi were picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders at the IPL auction for a hefty price tag.
10. Shiva Singh
With an economy rate of 3.11, Shiva Singh’s spell in the middle-overs is usually effective to build pressure on the opposition batting unit and induce wickets at the other end. Shiva, with his left-arm spinners, will be expected to do a similar job in the final against Australia on Saturday.
11. Ishan Porel
After walking off injured in India’s tournament opener against Australia, Ishan Porel bounced back strongly and dismantled the Pakistani top-order in the semi-final, picking up 4 wickets in the process. Porel, along with Mavi and Nagarkoti, could well and truly be the future of India’s fast bowling.
India U19 Predicted XI: Prithvi Shaw (c), Manjot Kalra, Shubman Gill, Harvik Desai (wk), Riyan Prayag, Abhishek Sharma, Anukul Sudhakar Roy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Shiva Singh, Ishan Porel
Australia U19 Predicted XI: Jack Edwards, Max Bryant, Jason Sangha (c), Jonathan Merlo , Param Uppal, Nathan McSweeney, Will Sutherland, Baxter J Holt (wk), Zak Evans, Ryan Hadley, Lloyd Pope