India U23s crowned Emerging Teams Cup champions
In a one sided clash, India U23s crushed arch rivals Pakistan U23s by 9 wickets to lift the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore on Sunday. A disciplined bowling performance from Baba Aparajith along with KL Rahul’s solid batting helped India cruise to a resounding victory.
Batting first, the Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan (21) and Babar Azam (7) added 32 runs for the 1st wicket. Rizwan, who appeared to be in good nick, threw away a fine start with a lofted drive off Sandeep Sharma (2/20). His partner followed suit, falling to Sandeep Warrier (1/37). From thereon, Usman Salahuddin (15) and Umar Waheed (41) fought back, putting up a 54-run stand for the 3rd wicket. Waheed looked on course for a half century when he was run-out by Ankit Bawne, leaving his side in trouble at 95/4 in the 30th over.
Baba Aparajith (3/28) then demolished the middle order, striking in consecutive overs while skipper Suryakumar Yadav (2/20) chipped in at the other end. Pakistan were soon in complete doldrums, sliding to 107/9 wickets in the 38th over. However, they were saved by a 52-run 10th-wicket partnership between Usman Qadir (33) and Ehsan Adil (20), taking the total to 159 in 47 overs.
India's chase was solid, thanks to KL Rahul who continued to dominate the opposition. Opener Unmukt Chand was the only wicket to fall, as he departed to Raza Hasan in the 6th over. Rahul made an unbeaten 93 (11x4 1x6) and he was brilliantly aided by Manprit Juneja (51*) who finally delivered in the most important game of the tournament, adding 132 runs for the second wicket. With more than 16 overs to spare and just 6 runs needed to win, Juneja hit a six to bring up his fifty and a well-deserved triumph for India, scripting a grand finish.
KL Rahul finished the tournament as the leading run-scorer with 321 runs, while Baba Aparajith was India’s highest wicket-taker with 7 scalps.
Brief Scores: India U23s 160/1 (KL Rahul 93*, M Juneja 51*) beat Pakistan U23s 159 (Waheed 41, Aparajith 3/28) by 9 wickets