India Under-19 328 for 7 (Shaw 94, Kalra 86, Gill 63, Edwards 4-65) beat Australia Under-19 228 all out (Edwards 73, Nagarkoti 3-29, Mavi 3-45) by 100 runs
Against an Australia line-up filled with right-handers, India stocked their XI with three left-arm spinners. As it turned out, it was their fast bowlers Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who rattled Australia with 146kph thunderbolts under lights. This was one of the big takeaways for India, who opened their campaign with a 100-run win at the Bay Oval in Mount Manganui.
The other takeaway was the performance of their batsmen, Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra in particular. In an approach straight out of the senior team's ODI blueprint, the openers first consolidated before going into overdrive to add 180 in India's 328 for 7 after electing to bat. Along the way, they broke India's previous best opening stand of 179 held by Shikhar Dhawan and Robin Uthappa in the 2004 edition.
Australia were opposite, allowing the fast bowlers to dictate terms. Opener Max Bryant, reprieved early by wicketkeeper Aryan Juyal off Mavi, Could only manage 29 in his 48-ball stay, slapping a length ball to cover. Jason Sangha, the captain, was also kept quiet as Shaw cut out the singles. After batting for close to 30 minutes, he was out charging at Sharma, only to be deceived in flight and spoon a catch to Shaw short third man.
At the halfway mark, Australia's asking rate had already spiraled to close to 10 an over. Against a side that had planned specifically for a situation that was ripe to choke runs and build pressure with their spinners, this approach was going to be seriously tested. But India had to make up nearly seven overs after fast bowler Ishan Porel hobbled off with a knee niggle.
Jack Edwards, the other opener who held the innings together, picked away Himanshu Rana's part-time medium pace easily, but Shaw brought back his strike bowler Mavi to break the flourishing 59-run third-wicket stand when Jonathan Merlo's off stump went cartwheeling. On a batting day, Mavi and Nagarkoti, who finished with 3 for 29, made the big difference.
Australia's cautious approach was in sharp contrast to India's. Shaw took some risks but aggressive right through, while Kalra, prone to the occasional false drive to away-going deliveries, was largely composed and aesthetically pleasing. Both fell short of what should have been deserving hundreds, but India overcame a slight blip in momentum courtesy a sprightly 54-ball 63 from No. 3 Shubman Gill on a flat batting deck where batsmen had no inhibition in hitting through the line.
Shaw, tentative outside the off stump early in his innings, should've been out for 25, but Will Sutherland's joy of having him caught behind while poking with an angled bat in the eighth over was shortlived as replays confirmed he had overstepped. Then on 28, he was reprieved again as Austin Waugh missed a direct hit at the bowler's end from backward point.
It would cost Australia 69 more before Shaw, frustrated at not finding his placement after crossing 80, slashed to the wicketkeeper on 94. Australia had a second wicket when Kalra chipped one to a leaping Sangha at midwicket.
Sutherland was brought back and he didn't let the captain down, varying his pace and use of the wide yorkers nicely to stem run flow. India managed just two fours between overs 31 and 40, with the batting Powerplay fetching just 23. The brakes were on, even though India were still in a commanding 223 for 2 with 10 overs to play.
Sutherland bowled out by the 42nd over, with his last ball - a rank full toss - dispatched over deep midwicket for six by Gill. He finished with a respectable 1 for 55 off his full quota even as the other bowlers largely struggled.
Austin Waugh brought out a number of slower variations, including the back-of-the-hand delivery which his father Steve, who was in attendance, bowled so effectively, but it kept getting put away. He bore the brunt of Gill's onslaught as he raced to a half-century off 48 deliveries.
All of this meant India enjoyed a terrific last five overs, courtesy some industrious batting from Abhishek Sharma and Nagarkoti. Moving around the crease, they threw bowlers off their line to flick, whip and scoop 63 runs that got them close to 330. The luxury of those extra runs allowed them to attack and eventually close out the game.