DUBAI: West Indies rode on its fast-bowling arsenal to win the U19 World Cup for the first time with a tense five-wicket victory over three-time winners India in the final at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Sunday.
The pace trio of Alzarri Joseph, Ryan John and Chemar Holder shone on a spicy, moisture-laden pitch to demolish India’s fancied batting line-up for 145 after electing to field.
Sarfaraz Khan played a lone hand for the Rahul Dravid-coached Indian team with 51, his fifth half-century in six matches, as Joseph and John picked up three wickets each and Keemo Paul two.
West Indies slipped to 77-5 in reply against the steady Indian attack before Keacy Carty (52 not out) and Paul (40 not out) put on 69 for the sixth wicket to steer their team home with three deliveries to spare.
It was the first major title for the West Indies at any level since Darren Sammy’s senior team won the World T20 in Sri Lanka in 2012.
Skipper Shimron Hetmyer’s boys won the tournament after defeating three sub-continent teams — Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India — in the knockout rounds. “We were not supposed to be champions, but we did it,” said Hetmyer. “Words can’t explain how good I feel.”
Meanwhile, the sentiments in the Indian camp were completely the opposite. “I feel sad today because we wanted to win badly,” said India captain Ishan Kishan. “It was not easy to bat out there in the morning because their fast bowlers really used the conditions well.”
Dravid complimented the West Indies and said the defeat will serve as a good lesson for his young wards. “I am disappointed for them,” he said. “We have tasted a lot of success with this team. Unfortunately, the only loss for them came in the biggest game they have played.”
The next edition of the tournament will be held in 2018 in New Zealand with seventh-placed Namibia, the highest-ranked Associate member, qualifying directly along with the 10 Test playing sides.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2016.