Pacer Kartik Tyagi blew away the Australian top-order with a sensational spell to power India into the semi-finals of the ICC Under 19 World Cup with a comfortable 74-run win in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
Kartik’s four wickets came after India recovered through Atharva Ankolekar’s combative half-century to reach 233/9, which felt like modest total at that time but the holders defended it in emphatic fashion.
Riding on Kartik’s spell in which he swung the ball at a good speed, India bundled out Australia for 159 with 6.3 overs to spare in their Super League quarterfinal.
Invited to bat, India lacked a substantial partnership until Atharva and Ravi Bishnoi joined forces to raise a fighting 61-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Atharva scored an unbeaten 55 off 54 balls with five fours and a six, while Bishnoi made 30 off 341 balls.
Tyagi (4/24) then produced a dream spell in which he removed Australian skipper Mackenzie Harvey (4) and Lachlan Hearne (0) in successive balls in his very first over.
This was after Jake Fraser-McGurk was run out in the very first ball of their innings, being dismissed for a 0-ball 0.
Tyagi missed out on a hat-trick but added the wickets of Oliver Davies (2) and Patrick Rowe (21) to take the life out of the Australian chase.
India’s total, which captain Priyam Garg said was about 40-50 runs more than what they expected at one stage, would have given the Australians hope but it became a herculean task after their top order was polished off with the scoreboard reading 5/3 at the end of the first over.
Opener Sam Fanning (75) kept fighting from one end but that only delayed the inevitable. He added 81 runs for the sixth wicket with Liam Scott (35), who was the first concussion substitute in the tournament, filling in for Corey Kelly.
When Australia required 85 runs off the last 10 overs, spinner Bishnoi broke the stand by getting rid of Scott, while left-arm pacer Akash Singh sent back Fanning.
The writing was on the wall after that as Akash (3/30) wrapped up the match by adding the wickets of Todd Murphy and Matthew Willans to his tally. For the second time in the innings, Australia lost three wickets in one over to prevent any hopes of a miraculous comeback as they did against England in the group stage.
Earlier, only opener Yashaswi Jaiswal put up a semblance of resistance among the top order batsmen for India against the Australian attack, scoring an 82-ball 62 with the help of six fours and two sixes.
Divyaansh Saxena (14), Tilak Varma (2), Priyan Garg (5) and Dhruv Juel (15) all struggled.
After losing one partner after another, Jaiswal went for a pull off Tanveer Sangha but edged the ball between his legs on to the stumps.
Before Sangha came on to bowl, bespectacled off-spinner Todd Murphy (2/40) frequently troubled the Indian batsmen.
Jurel, whose technique looked compact, timed the ball well but often found the fielders. Not being able to find the gaps meant his scoring rate was quite low.
Jaiswal, who was fluent in his stroke-making, had already departed and it adversely affected India’s run rate. The opener had made his third half century of the tournament in four matches to continue his great form but his wicket came at an inopportune time.
Under pressure, Jurel went after Muprhy but ballooned the ball up for wicketkeeper Rowe to take an easy catch.
Siddesh Veer too got out soon, leaving the lower order with an unenviable task to up the run rate.
Bishnoi and Atharva largely worked the ball around to keep the scoreboard ticking, taking advantage of the fielding restrictions. Bishnoi ended the boundary drought when he drove Sangha through the cover region and was in general busy at the crease.
Atharva guided Sully for a four behind square and then one more time, through the covers, to raise the team’s 200. Their stand ended with the run out of Bishnoi in the 48th over.
The left-hander then reached his fifty with a six off Sully. India finished the innings strongly, with 78 runs coming in the last 10 overs and that momentum shift proved critical as the defending champions stayed on course to win their fifth title at the tournament.
In the semi-final, Garg and Co will take on the winner of the quarter-final between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(With PTI inputs)