Xtra Time Web Desk: In a sensational comeback, India U19 team secured a thrilling two-wicket victory over South Africa in the ICC U19 ODI World Cup 2024 semi-final on Tuesday, earning a spot in the final. The defending champions faced a challenging target of 245 after an early collapse, losing four wickets for just 32 runs in Benoni.
Sachin Dhas (96 off 95 balls) and captain Uday Saharan (81 off 124 balls) played pivotal roles in the Indian resurgence, forging a remarkable 171-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Despite a commendable effort by South Africa, with Lhuan-dre Pretorius scoring 76 and Richard Seletswane contributing 64 to set a total of 244/7, India managed to pull off an extraordinary victory.
Opting to bowl first after winning the toss at Willomoore Park, Indian bowlers continued their impressive form. Star pacer Raj Limbani provided crucial breakthroughs, removing key batsmen Steve Stolk and David Teeger early on. However, Pretorius and Seletswane’s resilient partnership kept South Africa in the game.
Chasing a challenging total, India faced an early setback with the top order collapsing. Yet, captain Saharan and Dhas showcased resilience and skill, guiding the team to a historic win. Dhas fell just short of a century, scoring 96 off 95 balls, while Saharan contributed a crucial 81 off 124 balls. Their 171-run stand marked a new world record in youth ODIs.
Despite a late surge from South Africa’s Kwena Maphaka, who picked up three wickets, including Dhas, India held their nerve. Saharan’s composed innings ensured victory with seven balls to spare, securing their place in the final.
India will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Pakistan and Australia in the ICC U19 ODI World Cup 2024 final scheduled for February 11. The gripping semi-final showcased the young talents’ determination and skill, setting the stage for an exciting title clash.