U19 Men’s CWC 2024 Final: A Historic Clash Awaits
On the eve of the U19 Men’s CWC 2024 Final, both undefeated teams, India and Australia, stand on the precipice of making cricket history. The final showdown is set to take place in Benoni on 11 February.
Australia is vying for a rare quadruple, having already secured three major ICC titles in the past year, including the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023, which they clinched on South African soil.
India, on the other hand, is eyeing a record-extending sixth ICC U19 Men’s CWC title and their first successful title defence. Remarkably, this is India’s fifth consecutive final in this tournament, and as the defending champions, they are eager to maintain their dominance.
Tournament Performance So Far
India has been a dominant force since the early stages of the tournament, registering commanding victories over Bangladesh, Ireland, and the USA, thanks to outstanding performances from Saumy Pandey, Musheer Khan, and Naman Tiwari.
In the Super Six stage, Musheer Khan’s second century paved the way for a crucial win against New Zealand, while Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas shone with centuries in a significant victory over Nepal.
The semi-final against South Africa was a stern test for India, with Kwena Maphaka and Tristan Luus proving to be formidable opponents. However, a resilient partnership between Saharan and Dhas saw India through this challenging trial, securing their place in the final.
This hard-fought victory under pressure undoubtedly served as invaluable preparation for the young Indian team ahead of the ultimate showdown against Australia in the final.
India has been dominant when batting first in the tournament, winning each of their first five games by setting up a target. Three of these five wins were by a margin of over 200 runs.
Hugh Weibgen’s Australian side navigated the group stage with varying levels of dominance, with different players stepping up at different stages in the competition.
Callum Vidler led their pacers to dominate Namibia, but they needed skipper Weibgen to rescue them from a difficult position and secure a win. Against Zimbabwe, Harry Dixon starred with the bat before Harkirat Bajwa’s bowling dismantled the opposition. Ryan Hicks came to the rescue in their win against Sri Lanka, cementing their position atop the table.
In the Super Six stage, Weibgen’s sensational century against rivals England set the tone for a dominant win in Kimberley. Despite a batting slip-up against West Indies, Sam Konstas’ century helped Australia post a competitive total before rain intervened, helping them seal top spot in Group 2.
In the semi-finals against Pakistan, Australia’s batting faltered again after Tom Straker’s six-wicket haul had put them on top. However, they managed to scrape through by one wicket to set up an exciting final against India.
Australia has had shaky moments in each of their three run-chases in the tournament to date. However, in the two games they batted first, they won by 225 and 110 runs respectively.
Key Player Match-ups to Watch
Arshin Kulkarni vs Callum Vidler
Callum Vidler has been Australia’s go-to bowler with the new ball, his immaculate line and length posing trouble for top-order batters. Arshin Kulkarni, who has struggled with seam movement early in his innings, will face a significant threat from Vidler.
Sachin Dhas vs Tom Straker
Sachin Dhas, coming off the back of 116 and 96 in the final Super Six game and semi-final respectively, is India’s trump card. However, he could face a challenge from Tom Straker, who has been clever with his pace variations.
Hugh Weibgen vs Saumy Pandey
Weibgen, Australia’s pillar in the middle-order, has a tough match-up against India’s Saumy Pandey, who has been the best left-arm spinner in the tournament.
Harry Dixon, Sam Konstas, Hugh Weibgen (c), Harjas Singh, Ryan Hicks (wk), Ollie Peake, Tom Campbell, Raf MacMillan, Tom Straker, Mahli Beardman, Callum Vidler
Adarsh Singh, Arshin Kulkarni, Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan (c), Priyanshu Moliya, Sachin Dhas, Aravelly Avanish (wk), Murugan Abhishek, Naman Tiwari, Raj Limbani, Saumy Pandey.