India under-19 captain Unmukt Chand has described Baba Aparajith and Harmeet Singh as the "most important players" of his side after the duo played a crucial role in beating New Zealand to help the team reach the ICC Under-19 World Cup final in Townsville on Thursday.
Riding on Aparajith's all-round performance and Harmeet's impressive effort with the ball, India defeated New Zealand by nine runs at the Tony Ireland Stadium here to book a title clash against Australia on Sunday.
Defending a modest total of 209, the Indian bowlers rose to the occasion and restricted New Zealand to 200 for nine.
"Spinners have been bowling consistently well for us. Harmeet was excellent and Aparajith also supported him well. They are the most important players of the team," Unmukt said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Aparajith (1-29) and Harmeet (2-30), who operated in tandem, put the brakes on New Zealand's scoring in the middle overs to keep India in the hunt in the low-scoring match.
Aparajith also contributed with the bat, scoring useful 44 runs which enabled India to cross the 200-run mark.
By virtue of this win, India managed to reach the final of the event for the fourth time and Chand described it as a "dream-come-true".
"It feels great (to be in the final). It is a result of great team work," he said.
"Australia would be tough. Playing Australia in Australia is always difficult," the 19-year-old Delhi batsman said. Man-of-the-match Aparajith agreed with his skipper and said he is hoping to continue the good work in the final.
"I am just trying to keep my momentum going. I am trying to get my basics right. But Australia is a very competitive side," he said. New Zealand skipper Will Young felt 210 was a gettable score on this wicket.
"We did enough with the ball. We would have taken 210 on any day. The pitch was consistent. But we lost wickets at regular intervals," he said.