Shrugging off their disappointing loss against Pakistan in the last game, India U-19 boys held their nerves as they eked out a three-wicket win against Sri Lanka with five balls to spare as they set up summit clash with arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asia Cup in Dubai.
After being put into bat, Sri Lanka scored 223 for eight in 50 overs which India colts surpassed the target in 49.1 overs largely due to half-century by opener Ankush Bains being awarded man-of-the match due to his innings of 54 off 53 balls with four boundaries and a six.
It was a great effort considering that Bains was hit in the box off the last ball from pacer Binura Fernando's first over.
The wicketkeeper-batsman then came back in the 34th over after India were tottering at 127 for five as he anchored the chase getting out in the 49th over when only seven runs were required off 11 balls.
Apart from Bains, Ricky Bhui (37), Akhil Herwadkar (27) and skipper Vijay Zol (22) scored a few runs but all got out after getting starts.
A couple of square cuts off left-arm spinner Lakshan Jayasinghe and a slog over long on off left-arm seamer Anuk Fernando were the highlights of Bains' innings.
The seventh wicket partnership with 58 runs with Kuldeep Singh (22) proved to be a clincher in the end for the India colts. Kuldeep also contributed with the ball as his slow left-arm orthodox spin got him three for 49 in 10 overs. Sarfaraz Khan (2/28) and Deepak Hooda (2/43) were the other wicket-takers.
Sri Lanka u-19 223/8 in 50 overs (Hashan Dumindu 60, Kuldeep Yadav 3/49, Sarfaraz Khan 2/28, Deepak Hooda 2/43)
India U-19 224/7 in 49.1 overs (Ankush Bains 54, Ricky Bhui 37). India U-19 won by 3 wkts.
Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images