Sanju Samson and Kuldeep Yadav stole the limelight as India maintained their unbeaten run in the Under-19 World Cup, with a crushing 245-run victory over minnows Papua New Guinea, in Sharjah, on Wednesday.
Opting to bat in their last league match, the defending champions posted a mammoth 301 for six before bowling out their hapless opponents for just 56 in 28.2 overs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The convincing victory ensured India the top place in Group A.
Samson, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, led the way with a blistering 85 off 48 balls, including eight fours and four sixes.
Defending the huge total on what was not the best of batting surfaces, left-arm spinner Yadav, who is registered with Mumbai Indians, returned impressive figures of four for 10 in 8.2 overs.
Earlier, the Indians were off to a sedate start, with openers Ankush Bains (59) and Akhil Herwadkar (37) putting on 58 runs in just under 12 overs.
Skipper Vijay Zol contributed 35 off 68 balls, but the momentum that the holders were looking for came only after the arrival of Samson at the crease. The latter found an able ally in Shreyas Iyer, who scored 36 off 38 balls during a fourth-wicket stand of 116 runs that came off just 12.4 overs.
He found the fence thrice during the crucial partnership and by the time he fell to Alei Nao, he had already done his job, leaving India at a comfortable 255 for 4 in the 46th over.
Sarfaraz Khan consolidated towards the end, smashing his way to a brisk 34 off only 19 balls, with the help of three fours and a six. His knock only made it worse for the minnows.
Nao was the best PNG bowler, returning figures of three for 46 from his 10 overs.
When their turn to bat came, Papua New Guinea proved no match for the formidable Indian bowling unit, led admirably by Yadav and right-arm medium pacer Monu Kumar, who picked up three for 13 in six overs.
Bowling off-spin, Deepak Hooda took two for five in five overs.
Opener Riley Hekure (20) and middle-order batsman Hiri Hiri (13) were the only two batsmen to get into double figures.
Image: Sanju Samson
Photograph: Getty Images