Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2012/8/25/australia-and-india-set-for-battle-royale

Australia and India set for final battle royale

UPDATED 14 February, 2013 1:17PM AEST | by James Willoughby in Townsville

Australia and India will fight it out for the ICC Under-19 World Cup at Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville on Sunday.

The final is a promoter's dream.

 

Australia – who are the hosts of the 2012 tournament – are undefeated, toppling England, Nepal and Ireland in the group stages before notching knockout wins against Bangladesh and South Africa.

 

India have been statistically the most impressive Under-19 side over the last year, winning two quadrangular series titles.

 

They were also joint winners at the 2012 Under-19 Asia Cup after they tied with Pakistan in the final.

 

India have been well supported all tournament, and with plenty of locals expected to watch the Aussies, a big crowd is expected for Sunday's showpiece.

 

Cameron Bancroft (194 runs) and Will Bosisto (189 runs) have been Australia's most consistent batsmen through the tournament, with the latter helping his side to victory in run-chases on four occasions.

 

While the top order has struggled around him, Bancroft has impressed, with a terrific 125 against Nepal highlighting his obvious quality.

 

The West Australian also produced when needed in the semi-final against South Africa, scoring a patient 66 at the top of the order.

 

Australia's first-choice spinner, Ashton Agar, was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury but it is another Ashton who has caught the eye in his absence.

 

Off-spinner Ashton Turner (10 wickets) has bowled superbly during the tournament and looks set for a bright future while quicks Gurinder Sandhu (nine wickets) and Mark Steketee (seven wickets) have also impressed.

 

For India, Prashant Chopra (172 runs) and Vijay Zol (150 runs) have been their best with the bat.

 

Frustratingly for Unmukt Chand's side, it has often been the case that when one player scores big runs, the others fail.

 

India have been waiting all tournament for a team batting performance and if it comes in the final, Australia will be up against it.

 

With the ball, seamers Ravikant Singh (11 wickets), Kamal Passi (10 wickets) and Sandeep Sharma (eight wickets) have all enjoyed success.

Sharma's ability to swing the ball prodigiously has been one of the highlights of the tournament and India can feel pleased with the effort they have received from their bowling group.

 

Australia and India have played each other four times over the past year.

 

Of the four matches, two were in India's quadrangular series in September 2011 before Australia returned the favour in another four-team series, this time in Townsville in April this year.

 

India have won three of those encounters and will take confidence from their ability to score big runs against Australia's bowlers.

 

The last time they met was in the final of April's quadrangular series where Sharma took 4-51 as Australia scored 9-194 off their 50 overs.

 

And despite Patrick Cummins (2-42 off seven overs) taking two early wickets for Australia, Chand made 112 not out as India cruised to a seven-wicket win with more than seven overs to spare.

 

The Aussies will be determined to buck that trend and are in superb form with the ball, with no side having scored more than 191 runs against them this tournament.

 

But if India come to play, they will be very tough to beat.

 

The scene is set for an exciting conclusion to the 2012 ICC Under-19 World Cup as Australia aim to become just the second side to successfully defend a title in the history of the tournament.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 25 August, 2012 5:07PM AEST

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