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  5. India storm into fifth-consecutive U19 World Cup final as Sachin Dhas, Uday Saharan ace daunting run chase

India storm into fifth-consecutive U19 World Cup final as Sachin Dhas, Uday Saharan ace daunting run chase

Fifties from opener Lhuan-dre Pretorius and Richard Seletswane helped South Africa post a challenging total of 244/7 at Benoni's Willowmoore Park with Raj Limbani and Musheer Khan scalping combined five wickets for India.

Sumeet Kavthale Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Updated on: February 07, 2024 6:19 IST
Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas
Image Source : GETTY Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas vs South Africa in Benoni on February 6, 2024

India recorded a thrilling comeback two-wicket win against South Africa to storm into the ICC U19 ODI World Cup 2024 final on Tuesday. Sachin Dhas and Uday Saharan's 171-run stand for the fifth wicket helped the defending champions chase down a 245-run target after losing the first four wickets on 32 in Benoni.

Lhuan-dre Pretorius registered his third consecutive fifty in this tournament by smashing 76 off 102 and struggling batter Richard Seletswane added 64 runs to help the Proteas score a challenging total of 244/7 while batting first.

But despite an early collapse from the Indian top order, Dhas' 96 off 95 balls and 81 runs from captain Saharan guided the young guns to a memorable win in the first semifinal. India will be facing the winner of the second semifinalists between Pakistan and Australia in the final on February 11. 

After winning the crucial toss at the Willomoore Park, the Indian captain elected to bowl first. India won all of their five matches in this tournament while batting first so a decision came as a surprise for the fans. But Indian bowlers continued their rich form with another impressive display.

The star pacer Raj Limbani removed Steve Stolk in the fifth over to give India a breakthrough and then clean-bowled star batter David Teeger on a duck to put South Africa under pressure. But the in-form Pretorius and no.4 Seletswane kept the Proteas alive in the game with impressive but patient gameplay.

Pretorius and Seletswane added 72 runs for the third wicket but took 131 balls. Both players registered fifties with Pretorius smashing his third consecutive half-century in the tournament. However, late cameos from Tristan Luus who smashed 23* off 12 and 24 runs from captain Juan James boosted South Africa to 244/7 in 50 overs.

Defending a good total, the rising pacer Kwena Maphaka dismissed in-form Adarsh Singh on the first ball of the innings and then fast bowler Luus took three wickets in the first ten over to stumble India's innings to 32/2 in 9.2 overs. 

But once again, Saharan stepped up to lead the team and had support from the last game's centurion Sachin Dhas. The duo took their time to settle as they defended well against Mphaka-Luus with excellent control of their shot selection. 

Dhas took charge to accelerate the chase with regular boundaries and Saharan defended a wicket with sensible cricket. The duo added 171 runs for the fifth wicket, a new world record in youth ODIs, to put India on track for a successful chase.

Maphaka made a late impact by denying Dhas his second consecutive hundred. Dhas top-scored with 96 off 95 balls with the help of 11 fours and one six. Maphaka picked his third wicket in the game by removing wicketkeeper batter Aravelly Avanish in the 47th over as South Africa took the game to wire.

But Saharan kept his cool by scoring 81 off 124 balls as India levelled the score with nine balls in hand. A direct throw from Oliver Whitehead ended Saharan's brilliant knock but it was too late for the hosts as India secured a two-wicket win with 7 balls remaining. 

South AfricaPlaying XI: Lhuan-dre Pretorius (wk), Steve Stolk, David Teeger, Richard Seletswane, Dewan Marais, Juan James (c), Oliver Whitehead, Riley Norton, Tristan Luus, Nqobani Mokoena, Kwena Maphaka

India Playing XI: Adarsh Singh, Arshin Kulkarni, Musheer Khan, Uday Saharan (c), Priyanshu Moliya, Sachin Dhas, Aravelly Avanish (wk), Murugan Abhishek, Raj Limbani, Naman Tiwari, Saumy Pandey

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