Let’s do it! India will be keen to produce another clinical show
as it looks to book a berth in the summit clash. Photo: X/ICC

Let’s do it! India will be keen to produce another clinical show
as it looks to book a berth in the summit clash. Photo: X/ICC

Red-hot India will be the favourite when it takes on host South Africa in the semifinal of the Under-19 World Cup in Benoni on Feb. 6.

Defending champion India has marched into the last-four stage on the back of five consecutive wins in the tournament, with its exciting talent putting up a fine all-round show to ensure its dominance.

With two centuries and a fifty, the 18-year-old Musheer Khan has lit up the tournament as he sits atop the batters’ list with 334 runs in five outings at an average of 83.50.

India skipper Uday Saharan has raked up 304 runs with two fifties and a ton while averaging 61.60.

Sachin Dhas has also given a fine example of himself, hitting a 116 in India’s last Super Six game against Nepal after his side was put in a spot of bother at 62 for three.

Each of India’s opponents have hitherto found it difficult to score runs off India vice-captain and left-arm spinner Saumy Pandey with 16 wickets with three four-fors, placing him third in the list of most successful bowlers in this World Cup.

Pakistan will take on Australia in the second semifinal here at the Willowmoore Park.

Before embarking on the World Cup campaign, India had crushed South Africa in two consecutive ODIs of the Tri Nation Series while chasing, something which will give the Saharan-led side confidence.

However, the knockout games bring a different kind of pressure and the first semifinal could be a battle between India’s in-form batters and the on-song South African pacer Kwena Maphaka.

With three five-wicket hauls in five games, Maphaka has not only topped the charts among bowlers with 18 scalps but he has single-handedly set up South Africa’s commanding wins in last two games. The left-arm pacer ran through Sri Lanka with 6/21 in South Africa’s last Super Six game.

The teams (from):

India: Uday Saharan (Capt.), Arshin Kulkarni, Adarsh Singh, Rudra Mayur Patel, Sachin Dhas, Priyanshu Moliya, Musheer Khan, Aravelly Avanish Rao (wk), Saumy Kumar Pandey, Murugan Abhishek, Innesh Mahajan (wk), Dhanush Gowda, Aaradhya Shukla, Raj Limbani and Naman Tiwari.

South Africa: Juan James (Capt.), Esosa Aihevba, Raeeq Daniels, Kwena Maphaka, Dewan Marais, Nqobani Mokoena, Riley Norton, Romashan Pillay, Sipho Potsane, Ntando Zuma (wk), Lhuan-dre Pretorius (wk), Richard Seletswane, Steve Stolk, David Teeger and Oliver Whitehead.

(Match starts at 1.30 p.m. IST).



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