India continued their strong run at the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa as they defeated Pakistan by 10 wickets in a one-sided semi-final in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
Opening batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal saved his best for the big occasion as he hit an unbeaten 105 while Divyaansh Saxena scored 59 to help India chase down Pakistan's meagre total of 172 with all wickets and almost 15 overs overs in hand.
Jaiswal completed his century and the chase with a six over mid-wicket to secure a spot in the final.
India's victory was earlier set up by a ruthless bowling effort by left-arm seamer Sushant Mishra (3-28), right-arm quick Kartik Tyagi (2-32) and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2-46).
India captain Priyam Garg lauded his bowling attack for its efforts throughout the tournament.
"This is the best attack of the tournament, because all our fast bowlers hit 140 (kph) plus consistently, and the spinners hit the right lines and lengths," Garg said.
He wasn't surprised by the performance of the openers as the two have been delivering consistently for a year. "This isn't the first time. They have done this for the past year. They bond well, and that leads to good running between the wickets and communication. They play together a lot and this helps them complement each other," Gard added.
The defending champions gave nothing away with the ball and even though Pakistan opener Haider Ali (56) and captain Rohail Nazir (62) tried their best, the scoring rate was kept to four an over or under.
Only three Pakistan batsmen reached double digits with India's bowling and fielding taking the wind out of Pakistan's sails.
The wicket of the dangerous Mohammad Harris (21) turned to be the turning point in Pakistan's innings just as they were looking to up the ante in the 35th over. Harris slog swept spinner Atharva Ankolekar to square leg where Saxena jumped to his right and pulled off a stunning catch inches off the ground.
Pakistan were dismissed for 172 in 43.1 overs after looking good to score 250 at the 30-over mark.
The chase turned out to be a walk in the park for India after a cautious start against the new ball. Jaiswal opened his shoulders once the new ball was out of the way and finished on 105 off 113 balls with eight hits to the fence and four over the ropes. Saxena took his time to score his 59 – off 99 balls – with six boundaries but given the small target, it turned out to be the perfect innings; the Indians reached their target in 35.2 overs.
Pakistan captain Nazir said his team lost momentum in the first innings just as they were looking to set a challenging score.
"The pitch was good, and we didn't put enough runs on the board," Nazir said. "Haider and I had a great partnership, we were at a good position at the 25-over mark. But Haider got out at a crucial point, and the rest of the batsmen weren't able to take enough responsibility. I also got out to a bad shot, but that was when only 10 overs were left."