In the current edition, India were the overwhelming favourites and they played like one, dishing out dominant performances one after the other. The gulf between them and other teams was clearly evident. In the playing eleven of the final, India fielded five players with First-Class experience while Australia had just one in captain Jason Sangha.
Earlier, Jonathan Merlo made a solid 76 before the India's left-arm spin duo of Shiva Singh and Anukul Roy sprung into action, limiting Australia to 216. At 183 for four, Australia looked well on course to reach 250 in a high-pressure match until the Indian spinners engineered the collapse with the Sangha-led side losing its last six wickets for 33 runs.Australia, who had little hesitation in batting first, were guilty of not converting starts into big partnerships. Merlo and Param Uppal 34 were involved in a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket before the innings' top-scorer shared 49-runs with Nathan McSweeney 23 to set the platform for a competitive total.
However, the momentum shifted hugely into India's favour when Shiva 236 set up Sweeney to have the batsman caught and bowled, leaving Australia at 183 for five.Earlier, India's leading wicket-taker in the event, Anukul Roy 232, had sent back Uppal in similar fashion as offered a simple catch back to the bowler while attempting to play against the spin. While Indian spinners delivered under pressure in the middle overs, the pacers were impressive again upfront and towards the end.
As it has been the case throughout the tournament, India had all their bases covered with bowlers' bouncing backing to dismiss Australia for 216 from 183 for four at one stage. The highly-rated batting, barring a minor blip, completed the job with conviction as India chased down the modest target in 38.5 overs. Having lost skipper Shaw (29) and Gill (31), Kalra displayed commendable calm and composure to see the team through.
Kalra, who had smashed a match-winning 86 against Australia in the tournament opener, was in devastating touch again. He hammered the spinners for huge sixes and showed his silken touch by beautifully driving the pacers through covers. In the end, he finished with eight fours and three sixes. It was only fitting that he reached the three figures in the last over of the final. Desai hit the winning boundary, sending the team members and the packed crowd into frenzy.
With a fourth crown, India surpassed Australia in the race of most U-19 World Cup titles. Prior to the final, India and Australia were locked at three titles each. The team's performance was also a fitting tribute to coach Dravid, who finally got his hands on a World Cup trophy. Under Dravid, the side had finished runner-up in the 2016 edition in Bangladesh. India's previous title came in Australia six years ago when the Unmukt Chand-led team beat the hosts in the final. The Virat Kohli-led side was victorious in 2008 and Mohammed Kaif was captain when India triumphed way back in 2000. In the current edition, India were the overwhelming favourites and they played like one, dishing out dominant performances one after the other.