The 2024 edition of the Under 19 ODI World Cup final is to be played on 11 February as India and Australia will be locking horns in the finals. Both teams have been the strongest sides in the tournament and will be up against each other to clinch the coveted trophy after three weeks of competitive cricket.
It is going to be a re-match of the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup final and is set to be a mouth–watering contest between two teams having a rich cricketing legacy against their name. Both Australia and India were placed in different groups in the group stage and were unbeaten by the end of it.
On one hand, where India won all 4 group matches, Australia also managed to win three of their 4 games with one of them ending in no result. Both the teams faced intense competition in their respective semi-finals and reached the finals after a gruelling against South Africa and Pakistan.
On one hand, where India won by 2 wickets against the tough South Africa team, Australia just managed to clinch a one-wicket against the spirited Pakistan team. So, as we are up for an enticing battle between both the strong teams, let’s take a look at the top 3 Indian players to watch out for in the finals:
1. Uday Saharan
Uday Saharan the captain of the Indian U-19 team has been the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 389 runs at an astonishing average of 64.83. He has smashed 3 half-centuries and 1 century so far in the tournament. But more the runs, one thing which will worry the opposition much is his temperament and game sense.
Uday Saharan is one of the most reliable batters of the Indian U-19 team and has the knack of playing match-saving innings from precarious positions. His recent innings of 81 runs in the semi-finals is a prime example of his temperament where he took India home from a difficult situation with the help of a match-saving partnership along with Sachin Dhar. Indi will be depending heavily on their captain to come good against the Australian team if they want to clinch the trophy.
2. Musheer Khan
After Uday Saharan, Musheer Khan has been the 2nd highest scorer of the Indian U-19 team and has been the life of the Indian middle batting order. Musheer Khan has scored 338 runs in the tournament so far at an amazing average of 67.60 with two centuries in his kitty.
More importantly, Khan has made all these runs at an impressive strike rate of 101.19. India would love Musheer to go all guns blazing which could take the match far from the grip of Australia as he scores at a brisk pace whereas Australia would like him to depart as early as possible.
Musheer has been instrumental both in batting and bowling. While he has scored two centuries and one half-century to date, he has also taken six wickets, securing two wickets each against Bangladesh, New Zealand, and South Africa.
3. Saumy Pandey
Soumy Pandey has been a find for India in the tournament. The bowling action of the left-arm spinner closely resembles that of Ravindra Jadeja. Besides his action, Saumy, maintaining an economy rate of 2.44 across six innings fulfils a similar role to that of his senior counterpart.
With 17 dismissals, he is the third-highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Saumy Pandey of India has emerged as a sensation in the cricketing world, particularly with his remarkable bowling skills. Leading the wicket charts for his team, he has claimed 17 wickets in six matches.
His standout performance came against New Zealand, where he recorded his best bowling figures of 4/19. Additionally, he delivered exceptional displays against Bangladesh and Nepal, securing four-wicket hauls in both matches. Having achieved three four-wicket hauls already, Pandey is eager to make an impact in the upcoming game, viewing it as his final opportunity to contribute significantly to India's quest for the U19 World Cup trophy.
Throughout the tournament, the 19-year-old has maintained a consistent record, never going without a wicket in any of the six matches. As India prepares to face Australia, Pandey remains a formidable challenge for opposing batsmen, who will need to devise a strategy to counter his threat effectively.