‘Getting Taste of Close Games Will Be Helpful For Us in Final’ Says India U19 Skipper Uday Saharan


Uday Saharan enroute to his 81-run innings against South Africa in the semi-final of the ICC U19 WC 2024 (Credit: ICC Media)

Uday Saharan enroute to his 81-run innings against South Africa in the semi-final of the ICC U19 WC 2024 (Credit: ICC Media)

Skipper Uday Saharan spoke on the importance of understanding how to survive such scares as they did today against South Africa would prove to be immensely helpful in the biggest occasion of all, the final.

After a disastrous start, it all seemed bleak for India who were chasing a target of 245. But, a sensational 96-run outing from Sachin Dhas and a captain’s knock of 81 runs by Uday Saharan ensured that India would reach the final of the Under-19 World Cup for the sixth time.

This was the first time the young Indian squad had to dig deep and clinch a dirty win after a hard-fought battle in the tournament till now, as the Men in Blue has been cruising to extravagantly comfortable wins so far.

Skipper Uday Saharan, who was named Player of the Match for his patient yet match-saving innings of 81 runs, spoke on the importance of understanding how to survive such scares as they did today against South Africa would prove to be immensely helpful in the biggest occasion of all, the final.

“It is a great feeling to reach the final. We got a taste of close games, and that will be good in the final. We don’t let the morale get low in the dressing room at all — our environment and coaches are superb,” Saharan stated in a post-match interview.

After restricting South Africa to a commendable total of 244 runs, India got off to a disastrous start, as the Indian top-order failed to fire and were picked off by the likes of the menacing pace duo of Kwema Maphaka and Tristan Luus, who ran riot in their first spell that left India 32-4 within the first 12 overs.

It was then skipper Saharan and batter Sachin Dhas, who stepped up to notch a match-winning and historic 171-run partnership to steer India away from embarrassment and to eventual victory.

When asked about whether the two batters ever felt the pressure when down so bad in a semi-final, Saharan replied stating that they maintained their calm and played through the spell till the pitch gave in and helped them out as well.

“Yes, we were well behind at one point. But we kept saying that we have to bat till the end. It was a matter of one partnership,” Saharan added.

“When I walked in to bat, the ball was nipping a bit, and there was a good bounce. But later it (ball) started coming onto the bat better.”

At the end of the day, India clawed their way to a nail-biting 2-wicket win over South Africa and secured their spot in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2024 Final, set to take place on February 11.

India now await the winner of the second semi-final match between Australia and Pakistan on Thursday to see who they will face in the title clash.



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