Three-time champions India got a scare before beating Ireland by 79 runs in their opening match of the under-19 World Cup in Dhaka on Thursday.
Sarfaraz Khan was the star for India as he registered the top score of the match — 74 off 70 balls (7x4s). Khan, who plays for Uttar Pradesh, was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Rahul Batham was the top wicket-taker for India with three for 15.
However, despite the reverse, the Irish camp will take heart from what was a solid performance against a quality Indian outfit.
Following their late reprieve into the competition, warm-up losses against Afghanistan and Canada didn’t augur well for Ryan Eagleson’s charges but this was more like it against the tournament favourites.
Having won the toss and invited India to bat first the Irish boys got a dream start as Pembroke left-armer Josh Little had skipper Ishan Kishan caught behind in the first over. The 16 year-old generating excellent pace – registering 86mph on the speed gun.
Phoenix all-rounder Rory Anders – another who exceeded the 80mph mark – had an excellent start to his spell with two wickets and with Gary McClintock also getting in the wickets column, Ireland were in dreamland with India struggling on 55 for 4 in the 17th over.
However a telling fifth wicket stand of 110 between Sarfaraz Khan and Washington Sundar put India back in the ascendancy, and they never relinquished their grip on the game.
Khan’s 74 (7 fours) was to earn him the man-of-the match award while Sundar was less aggressive with three boundaries in his nonetheless very valuable 62.
Zeeshan Ansari added 36 and a cameo of 17 from Mahipal Lomror boosted India’s total before both were dismissed by the very impressive 16-year old Little (3-52). Anders however was the pick of the Irish attack- his 3-35 from 10 overs helping to restrict the damage to 268 for 9 in 50 overs.
Lorcan Tucker was excellent behind the wicket for the Irish lads as well; four dismissals for him adding to a great effort in the field: Adam Dennison’s direct hit run out the champagne moment.
Ireland’s reply started poorly with skipper Jack Tector and fellow opener Stephen Doheny both run-out early.
Adam Dennison (20) and Gary McClintock (17) chipped at the deficit but it was a superb stand between William McClintock and the impressive Tucker that injected real impetus to the reply.
This pair gave India plenty to think about in a 113-run stand before McClintock was eventually tempted out of his ground in an attempt to address the quickly escalating required rate to be stumped for 58 (5 fours, 3 sixes).
A steady fall of wickets after that took the wind firmly out of Ireland’s sails however, and a valiant effort from Lorcan ended with him being last man out for 57.
The final six wickets fell for just 30 runs after the McClintock and Tucker partnership as Ireland came up 79 runs short- Rahul Batham with an excellent 3-15 from 8, Avesh Khan (2-24) and Lomror (2-28) doing the damage for the victors.
This Indian side will be a tough nut to crack as the tournament progresses, but it was a confidence booster for the Irish as well, as they prepare for a crunch clash with Nepal.
Nepal caused the first shock of the competition with a 32-run win over New Zealand.
Brief scores: India: 268-9 (50 overs; S Khan 74, W Sundar 62, R Bhui 39, Z Ansari 36, R Anders 3-35, J Little 3-52); Ireland: 189 all out (49.1 overs; W McClintock 58, L Tucker 57, A Dennison 20, R Batham 3-15, A Khan 2-24, M Lomror 2-28)