The Indian U-19 team need not panic yet, as their loss to the West Indies in their opening match at the U-19 World Cup may eventually not hurt them at all. They go into their next match against Zimbabwe on 14th August, at the same venue. This will be a crucial match for India, as a win here will see them through to the Super League stage, assuming they win against minnows Papua New Guinea in their third and final match.
As speculated, it indeed turned out to be a low-scoring affair at the Tony Ireland Ground, Townsville. The W.Indies, who opted to bowl after winning the toss, made complete use of the seaming conditions.
India’s top order were sent home by the 20th over, with the scorecard reading an unimpressive 50/4. However, S.Patel made a solid contribution of 51 runs (97 balls) along with V.Zol 26 (52balls) to take India to a decent total of 166/8 in their allotted 50 overs.
The Indian bowlers were impressive too. Although Sandeep Sharma made early in-roads into the W.Indies batting order, taking two wickets with thirteen runs on board, the total of 166 seemed a little difficult to defend despite a three wicket haul by left arm spinner Harmeet Singh, which had given India a ray of hope.
The role of Vikas Mishra , another left arm spinner, was very much limited on this track, though his spell was economical. Whether India go in with a third seamer, leaving out the second left arm spinner, is to be seen.
However, if there are a few things that will work in India’s favor, it is the fact that the Zimbabweans haven’t played a single match at the Tony Ireland Ground and that the Indian bowlers now have a fair understanding of the lengths they need to hit. India is familiar with the ground conditions and may have a better strategy for the match.
Although the match is slated to be played on an entirely different strip, the pitch is not expected to behave any different from the previous one. Also the fact that the Zimbabwe middle order hasn’t had a good stay at the wicket, could work in India’s favour.
It is almost obvious that the team which wins the toss is going to put the opposition in to bat. A solid opening partnership should set the ball rolling. The team needs to see off the new ball with a decent score on board, build partnerships in the middle and get a score which can provide enough cushion for the in-form bowling department to work on.
Tuesday is expected to be a sunny day at Townsville, with the temperature hovering around 18 degrees to 23 degrees, slightly warmer than than Sunday. One hopes to see some sunshine and bright smiles light -up the Indian dressing room with their first victory of the campaign.
Players to watch out for :
India - Smit Patel, Unmukt Chand, Sandeep Sharma.
Zimbabwe - KD Bowie, KT Kasuza, MSM Bentely.