Chasing a third title, India skipper Unmukt Chand has averred that his side has peaked at the right time as they braced up against the formidable Australians in the final of the Under-19 World Cup, in Townsville, Australia on Sunday.
Australia won the event in 1988, 2002 and 2010, and is not only bidding to win its fourth title but also to become only the second side after Pakistan to win back-to-back titles (2004 and 2006).
However, Chand will be aiming to become the third India captain to lay his hands on the trophy after Mohammad Kaif and Virat Kohli lifted the cup in 2000 and 2008, respectively.
"I am very optimistic about the final. We have played Australia in Australia and that too at the same venue. We are used to the conditions, and should do well," said Chand.
He said the team has overcome the sluggish start and is raring to do well in the final.
"The team has peaked at the right time. We did not start well in the competition, but the teamwork can be seen now. It is not that one or two players are carrying the side on their shoulders. Everybody is contributing, and that is why we are in the final.
"I had always visualised qualifying for the final. Australia is a good side, and so are we. The summit clash should be a competitive encounter. We will do our best to return home with the Cup," he said.
Surprisingly, no batsman from either side figures in the list of top 16 run-getters. Cameron Bancroft with 194 runs is in 17th position and Bosisto is 19th, while India's Prashant Chopra with 172 runs is 23rd and Vijay Zol with 150 runs is 33rd on the table.
With the ball, India's Ravikant Singh has bagged 11 wickets and Kamal Passi has claimed 10 wickets while Ashton Turner with 10 wickets and Gurinder Sandhu with nine wickets are Australia's leading wicket-takers.
Australia captain Will Bosisto said playing India is the final will be a big challenge.
"India has strong top-order batting, and the five bowlers it has are really consistent. It will be a tough challenge for us. India has been much like us in a way as it has managed to get over the line without perhaps playing its best cricket. So, it will be a great challenge for us on Sunday.
"All the boys are rapt and ready to go. Obviously, it is pretty exciting for us to be in a final. There will be lots of people watching us on TV and at the ground, so it is a big occasion for us," he said.
"We have played India a fair bit over the past year or so, but I don't think we can read too much into past results. The conditions are probably a little bit different than they were in April and we have a few changes to our side as have they," he added.
Photograph: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images