India beat hosts South Africa by two wickets in the semi-final of the 2024 ICC Men’s U19 World Cup in Benoni on Tuesday.

The Indian colts entered their fifth straight final in the age-group competition, riding on the back of a 171-run fifth wicket stand between captain Uday Saharan (81) and Sachin Dhas (96).

The last time India failed to reach the final of an U19 World Cup was a decade back in the 2014 edition. Coincidentally, the 2014 edition in Dubai remains South Africa’s only U19 World Cup title win.

Led by bowlers Tristan Luus (3-37) and Kwene Maphaka (3-32), the hosts gave the defending champions a big scare at the Willowmoore Park.

Chasing 245 to win, India were reduced to 32/4 in 11.2 overs before Dhas joined hands with Saharan for the game changing partnership.

Fresh from his century in the last Super Six match, Dhas struck 11 boundaries and a six in his 95-ball stay as he lifted India past the 200-run mark before falling to a cleverly disguised slower ball from Maphaka. The Maharastra batter fell just four runs short of a well deserved century.

Saharan, on the other hand, took the opposite route. The 19-year-old held one end up and batted patiently. He took 88 deliveries to bring up his half-century.

Saharan opened up his arms soon after with consecutive boundaries, but soon took reined his aggressive instincts in as Dhas fell with 42 runs still left to win.

The captain then added 23 runs with Aravelly Avinash before Maphaka prized out the latter. Murugan Abhishek followed one run later as he was caught short of the crease with a direct hit, leaving India at 227/7.

With the pressure building on Saharan and the required run-rate trickling above six for the first time, new batter Raj Limbani whipped away Riley Norton for a first-ball six over midwicket to keep India in the hunt.

The duo batted sensibly thereafter before Saharan was run out with just one run needed to win.

Limbani rose to India’s rescue once again as he smashed a half-volley to the extra cover boundary the very next delivery to wrap up the match.

Earlier in the day, India had restricted South Africa to 244/7 in their 50 overs. Limbani was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-60 in nine overs, while Musheer Khan picked up two wickets.

Wicketkeeper Luhan-dre Pretorius (74) and Richard Seletswane (64) were the top contributors with the bat for South Africa.