Benoni, South Africa: India continued their dominance in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup, reaching their ninth final and fifth consecutive one with a heart-stopping two-wicket win over hosts South Africa in the first semi-final at Willowmoore Park on Tuesday.
Chasing a challenging 245 under testing conditions, India found themselves wobbling at 32/4 early on. However, a record-breaking 171-run stand for the fifth wicket between Sachin Dhas and Uday Saharan rescued the team and led them to victory.
Dhas, aptly named after legendary Sachin Tendulkar, played a blazing knock of 96 off just 95 balls, peppering the boundary with 11 fours and 1 six. Skipper Saharan provided the stability with a composed 81 off 124 balls, hitting six fours.
Their partnership, the highest ever for the fifth wicket in a U-19 World Cup final, brought India back from the brink and put them in control of the chase. Despite losing both Dhas and Saharan towards the end, the lower order held its nerve to secure the win with seven balls remaining.
This victory marks India’s fifth consecutive appearance in the U-19 World Cup final, extending their record for most finals reached. They will now await the winner of the second semi-final between Australia and Pakistan for a shot at their sixth title.