It was indeed an endeavour at Endeavour Park -Townsville for the India U-19 batsmen ,who yet again struggled to put up a decent total on board against the ‘so called’ minnows Papua New Guinea .
They made a meagre 204 runs and could not even mange to complete their allotted 50 overs, owing to a fantastic spell of bowling by pacer Chad Soper whose analysis read 7.1-0-32-5 . He was ably supported by fellow medium pacer T.Tom who bagged 2 wickets, giving away just 26 runs in his quota of 10 overs.
Interestingly, India won the toss , and chose to bat . Although their batting has not performed as well as they would’ve liked to while batting first, their decision seemed to suggest that they wanted to overcome this weakness, keeping in mind the Super League stage.
However, Papua New Guinea let loose their surprise package in the form of Chad Soper. The seamer started the damage when he picked the wicket of the in-form Indian captain, Unmukt Chand in his first over with five runs on the board. With wickets falling at regular intervals, India were 98/5 in 24 overs. Baba Aprajith, G.Vihari and AD Nath could not manage to contribute much to the total.
It was a bit of a let-down by the Indian middle order who would have at least wanted to finish their quota of 50 overs and get a better target on board. Circumspect batting from opener P.Chopra , who got to his second fifty of the tournament, and a face saving 82 run partnership for the sixth wicket between Vijay Zol (72 runs, 95 balls, 8 fours) and Smith Patel (30 runs, 39balls, 2 fours) ensured India reached a decent total of 204 runs in 45.1 overs.
The Indians would have certainly started their bowling innings under slight pressure. It was again Passi who got India the initial breakthrough, which was very important, as a good opening partnership while chasing low totals can prove costly at times.
After the tenth over, it was Ravikant Singh all the way. The young pacer bowled a super first spell of six overs, giving away a miserly 12 runs and picking 3 wickets. While Passi drew first blood, Ravikanth cleaned up the PNG line up with a spectacular 5 wicket haul to get them all out for 97 in 31.5 overs.
On hind sight, playing under this slight pressure could turn out to be good for India. It would add to the confidence of the bowling attack, with Kamal Passi and Ravikanth Singh shaping up well for the future battles and the rest of the attack keeping things nice and tight.
With this win India enter in to the super league stage. All is well, when it ends well. It’s time to pull up our socks gentlemen!