India have an impressive record in Under 19 Asia Cups with multiple titles to their credit and they will be looking for a seventh title when they take on Bangladesh in the grand final on Saturday at R. Premadasa Stadium.


Ever since the Under-19 Asia Cup was launched in 1989, India has reached all but one final and so good their record is that they have never lost a final. (The final in 2012 was a tie with India and Pakistan being declared joint-champions).

Sourav Ganguly, Marvan Atapattu, Dinesh Karthik, Angelo Mathews and Babar Azam are some of the stars who have excelled in previous Under-19 Asia Cup finals and it remains to be seen which young star emerges out of the 2019 final.

India’s Arjuna Azad has been a sensation in this tournament. In three games he has already picked up Man of the Match award twice and has scored over 200 runs. Not just the weight of runs, but the manner in which he has scored them has been impressive. Strong square of the wicket, bowlers will regret giving width to him or straying down the leg-side. The north Indian doesn’t waste any time as well as his strike rate of 106 suggests.

Tilak Varma, who bats at number three, is more technically sound though. Much like his Hyderabadi predecessors V.V.S. Laxman and Mohammad Azharuddin, young Varma is a wristy player.

Bangladesh will rely heavily on opener Mahmudul Joy, who is expected to play the anchor role batting through the innings. Not that he is unable to cash in when quick runs are needed. In the final group game against Sri Lanka, he played leg-spin of Kavindu Nadeeshan watchfully before stepping up the gas in the bowler’s last over. He smashed two sixes and three fours in what was the 47th over of Bangladesh’s innings and that onslaught shook up the Sri Lankans.

Skipper Akbar Ali is the more attractive batsman though. Not too sure whether he bats at the right position as number six looks too low for him.

Cricket fans better mark down the name Shoriful Islam. To start with he is only four inches shorter than Joel Garner and bowls an impressive pace. His pace has proved to be too much for some teams and if he takes early wickets India will be in trouble.

India themselves have some excellent fast bowling talents and a mouthwatering contest awaits us in the Sri Lankan capital.

Teams and fans will be hoping that the weather stays fine. The semi-finals were abandoned without a ball being bowled due to heavy rain. The top teams of each group progressed to the finals. India and Bangladesh are the only teams that are unbeaten in the competition.


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Filed September 13th, 2019