- now the three-time winner will meet Australia on Saturday at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui in Tauranga
Receiving his man-of-the-match award, Indian batter Shubman Gill summed it up. “It was a difficult pitch to bat on. So after we have put 272 runs on the board, I always knew our pacers and spinners will do the job.”
This was a young man, full of confidence and mighty assured of his and his team's skills.
And why wouldn't he.
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He just converted his record-setting sixth consecutive half-century-plus score in youth ODIs into a match-winning 102, to help India storm into the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup final. Notably, and this has something to do with his team's coach, Rahul Dravid, Gill's innings had only 7 fours and no sixes, but his strike rate was 108.51.
This topped a glorious few days for one of the most promising young batters in India right now, who just a few days back, along with his team-mates captain Prithvi Shaw, and pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, fetched big money in the IPL 2018 auction.
Kolkata Knight Riders bought Gill for Rs 1.8 crore, Nagarkoti for 3.2 crores, and Mavi for 3 crores; while Shaw went to Delhi Daredevils for Rs 1.2 crore.
The match in question though was as one-sided as they come. In all fairness, the Pakistani team, which has had an on-off tournament [they lost the tournament opener to Afghanistan by 5 wickets], never really showed up.
My joy knows no bound! A decent - and colourful - crowd gathered at Hagley Oval to see the clash of the Asian titans
As Captain Hasan Khan later conceded, his team dropped four catches and missed three run-outs, which if taken, would have made the match - at least competitive.
Among his bowlers, Muhammad Musa with figures of 4-67 and Arshad Iqbal with 3-51, were the only noteworthy performances.
But even then, 272, certainly a formidable total, was not impossible to achieve, considering Hagley Oval's short boundaries.
At least that's what Pakistan would have thought when it was their turn to bat.
What happened next was – an Ishan Porel's show. He is India's third seamer, who till now has been lurking in the shadow of the more prominent pace-twins Nagarkoti and Mavi. Porel will finally end up with figures of 4-17, getting four of the Pakistani's top five batters.
Though he had Shaw and Mavi to thank, who took three brilliant catches among them. Shaw took two diving to his left and right in the slips, while Mavi completed a stunning catch at the fine-leg boundary to dismiss opener Muhammad Zaid Alam.
Mavi, on his part, bowling three maidens in a row to start with, returned with figures of 6 runs in 4 overs. Nagarkoti (7 runs in 5 overs), Shiva Singh (2-20 in eight overs), and Parag (6 runs in 4 overs) were the other notable performances.
Now, while India will meet Australia on Saturday in the final, Pakistan will play Afghanistan for a third-place play-off in Queenstown on Thursday.