Sachin Dhas, Uday Saharan heroics power India to Under-19 World Cup final

India will be eyeing their sixth U-19 World Cup title. (Source:

In what was a nail-biting semi-final at Willowmoore Park in Benoni, India U-19 emerged victorious against the host nation, South Africa U-19, advancing to the final of the U-19 World Cup 2024. This chase was made possible by the 171-run partnership between Sachin Dhas (96) and skipper Uday Saharan (81), pulling India out of deep waters to secure a 2-wicket victory.

Having batted first in all five games so far, this was the first time India were chasing a target, and nerves were evident. India got off to a disastrous start with Kwena Maphaka dismissing Adarsh Singh on the first ball of the first over. 

Tournament’s highest run-scorer so far, Musheer Khan, failed to make an impact before becoming Tristan Luus’ first victim. Arshin Kulkarni partnered with skipper Saharan, but the former couldn’t find his rhythm, struggling to rotate the strike and find boundaries. His difficulties ended as Luus dismissed him. 

Prior to this game, India never lost their first three wickets before the 35th over, but today they lost three wickets within the powerplay. Things didn’t change after the powerplay as Priyanshu Moliya fell victim to Luus. Both Maphaka and Luus had completed their first spell, collectively taking four wickets between them.

The young Indian batters were under tremendous pressure, in need of a partnership. Dhas joined Saharan in the middle. Prior to this game, Dhas had finished games for his country, but this time around, he found himself in the 12th over with his team desperate for a substantial partnership. The new-ball pair of South Africa had completed their first spell, leaving Dhas and Uday with the task of forming a substantial partnership.

Dhas as usual took the initiative to launch attacking shots, while Saharan played a stabilising role at the other end. As Dhas continued to find boundaries, Saharan gradually accelerated the scoring rate. Although Riley Norton, the first change bowler, posed some challenges, the Indian batters strategically targeted the other Proteas bowlers as the required run rate was not excessively high.

Sachin had the opportunity to etch his name in history by becoming just the third Indian in U-19 cricket to score multiple centuries, but unfortunately fell agonizingly short. Maphaka then struck to dismiss Aravelly. Things did get a bit tricky after these two wickets.

The game witnessed tense moments, including run-outs and a basic mistake leading to Murugan Abhishek’s dismissal. When the scores were level, Saharan also fell victim to a run-out. However, Raj Limbani’s boundary and six, the latter sealing the victory, sparked jubilation in the Indian camp.

Earlier, South Africa got off to a promising start with openers Lhuan-dre Pretorius and Steve Stolk capitalizing on any short and wide deliveries. However, Limbani dismissed Stolk with a wide delivery that induced an edge while attempting a cut shot. Limbani followed it up by clean bowling David Teeger with a delivery that sharply jagged back in, putting India in a commanding position. 

The Proteas needed stability, and Pretorius and Seletswane provided just that, steadying the innings after the early setbacks. The spinners then stifled the batters during the middle overs, restricting their scoring opportunities.

Pretorius anchored the innings with a composed 76 off 102 balls, while Seletswane initially struggled but later accelerated to contribute 64 off 100 balls. Musheer dismissed Pretorius just as he was looking to accelerate, followed by the wicket of Oliver Whitehead. Dewan Marais fell to Saumy Pandey, who bowled an economical bowling spell.

During the death overs, Seletswane and skipper, Juan James, attempted to boost the scoring rate. However, Naman Tiwari dismissed Seletswane, preventing him from unleashing boundaries. James departed after a brief cameo, but Luus and Norton ensured a strong finish to the innings.

Despite Limbani and Tiwari’s efforts to contain, South Africa’s lower order capitalised on scoring opportunities in the final overs, adding 81 runs in the last 10 overs to post a competitive total of 244/7 in 50 overs.

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