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Quarterfinal-bound India hammer Zimbabwe to top Group B

Cricket
Fri, 19 Jan 2018
PTI


Mount Maunganui, New Zealand: Three-time champions India completed their Group B domination with a comprehensive 10-wicket win over an ill-equipped Zimbabwe in the ICC U-19 World Cup here today.

India, who had already sealed a quarterfinal spot with back-to-back wins against Australia and Papua New Guinea in Group B, produced another professional performance to end the league stage unbeaten.

Such was their run in the group stage that they recorded two 10-wicket victories besides a 100-run rout of three-time champions Australia.

The England team of 2008 is the other side which has recorded successive 10-wicket wins in the tournament. India are likely to face Bangladesh in the quarterfinal.

Zimbabwe batsmen seemed clueless against left-arm spinners Anukul Roy (4/20) and Abhishek Sharma (2/22) and folded up for 154 in 48.1 overs.

They were 110 for three at one stage but lost their last seven wickets for 44 runs.

The Rahul Dravid-coached Indian side chased down the small target with ridiculous ease as Harvik Desai (56 not out off 73) and Shubman Gill (90 not out off 59) took the team home in just 21.4 overs.

"Bowlers again did a really good job, batsmen as well. The attitude and intensity on the field really matters for India. We want to continue this process going on," said India captain Prithvi Shaw at the post-match presentation.

"We are really looking forward to the quarters. We have got six days break before that, we will practice well and ensure we bring our 'A' game," he added.

Shaw did not open today, letting the other batsmen spend more time in the middle before the quarterfinals.

Desai, who was one of the two changes in the team alongside Riyag Parag, made the opportunity count with a solid half century.

Gill, who has a first-class hundred to his name representing Punjab, was in devastating form smashing 14 fours and a six en route his second successive half century.

Gill fittingly hit the winning boundary, a straight drive for four.

"It was a pretty good wicket to bat on. We just capitalised on the start we got and I just tried to play straight. He (Rahul Dravid) just told us to go out and play our game and be impressive," said Gill, who was equally impressive with his front foot and back foot play.

Earlier, Roy ran through the Zimbabwe middler-order, also removing the innings top-scorer Milton Shumba (36 off 59).

He reaped the benefits of maintaining a wicket-to-wicket line, taking his tournament tally to 10 wickets in three games.

Liam Nicholas Roche, who scored 31 off 45, defended his decision to bat first.

"It was a team decision to bat first but sadly we didn't do as well as we would have liked. Well done to India, their openers batted very well, it was a learning experience," said Roche.