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    India Wins Asia Cup

    India reaffirmed their supremacy in the U-19 Asia Cup with a record eighth title as they hammered Sri Lanka by nine wickets in a rain-hit summit showdown here on Friday.

    Year 2021 ended on the right note for the U-19 Indian cricket team as it lifted the U-19 Asia Cup after beating Sri Lanka by nine wickets (DLS Method) in a match that was interrupted by rain on Friday in Dubai. Batting first, the Sri Lanka U-19 side was reduced to 106/9 in 38 overs as rain played spoilsport in the final. Vicky Ostwal bowled brilliantly to claim three wickets for 11 runs in eight overs. In reply, the India U-19 side was set a revised target of 102 runs which it eventually chased down in 21.3 overs with nine wickets remaining.

    The Indian bowlers were all over Sri Lanka, who were gasping  at 74 for seven in 33 overs, when heavy rain lashed the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and stopped play for more than two hours.

    It became a 38-over-a-side contest when play resumed with  Sri Lanka limping to 106 for nine.

    India were set a revised 102-run target in 38 overs via DLS  method which they reached rather comfortably in 21.3 overs with opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi scoring an unbeaten 56 off 67 balls.

    India’s only loss in the competition came against arch-rivals Pakistan who lost to Sri Lanka in the semifinals .

    The tournament provided valuable game time for the Yash Dhull-led side ahead of the U-19 World Cup, beginning in the  West Indies from January 14.

    After tournament’s leading scorer Harnoor Singh departed cheaply in the chase, Raghuvanshi played sensibly alongside Shaik Rasheed (31 not out off 49) to get the job done.

    The opener, who could not make an impact in the earlier games, grew in confidence after playing a backfoot punch early on in the innings. His backfoot play was impressive against the pacers and his feet movement against the spinners was assured. Raghuvanshi’s innings comprised six boundaries.

    Earlier, Sri Lanka opted to bat though early morning showers  made conditions ideal for seam bowling first up.

    The Indian pace duo of Rajvardhan Hangargekar and Ravi Kumar  made the ball talk though the former was a tad unlucky to not get a wicket.

    Left-arm pacer Ravi got the first wicket of the match by removing Chamindu Wickramasinghe in the fourth over. The left-hander opener went for a big hoick over mid wicket  but ended up mistiming it straight into the hands of Raj Bawa at third man.

    Wickramasinghe’s opening partner Shevon Daniel tried to pull  Bawa but the ball got big on him, taking a faint edge to wicketkeeper Aaradhya Yadav to leave Sri Lanka at 15 for two in the 11th over.

    India looked a far superior team. Hangargekar was the most impressive pacer in the first 10 overs, generating good pace that hurried the batters besides extracting movement off the pitch.

    The Sri Lanka batters looked completely at sea against the Indian bowlers, be it fast bowlers or the spin pairing of Kaushal Tambe (2/23) and Vicky Ostwal (3/11). Both off- spinner Tambe and left-arm spinner Ostwal got the odd ball to turn sharply.

    Ostwal got two in one to leave Sri Lanka in dire straits at 57 for seven. Southpaw Dunit Wellagle attempted a slog sweep to break the shackles but ended up getting caught in the deep.

    Two balls later Ranuda Somarathne missed Oswal’s arm ball on the back foot, trapping him in front of the stumps.

    With India set to bowl out Sri Lanka for a sub-100 total, heavy rain stopped play.

    In the five overs Sri Lanka had, they managed 32 runs for the loss of two wickets.


    Hangargekar got a much deserved wicket on the last ball of the innings with Raghuvasnshi taking a diving catch at the square leg boundary to dismiss Matheesha Pathirana.

    Highlights

    • The U-19 Indian cricket team lifted the Cup after defeating Sri Lanka
    • Match was interrupted by rain on Friday in Dubai and target was revised
    • This was India U-19 team’s record-extending eighth U19 Asia Cup title

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