India enjoys an overall 9-7 record against Pakistan in under-19 cricket but statistics will not stand for a lot when the two former champions take on each other tomorrow (Monday) with a semi-final place a reward for the winner.
Pakistan beat India in the semi-final of the 2004 event in Bangladesh, and in the 2006 final in Sri Lanka before overpowering them again in the quarter-final in New Zealand in 2010. In the inaugural event in 1988, Pakistan defeated India by 68 runs while India’s only victory in the U19 World Cup came in the 1998 event in Durban where it beat Pakistan by five wickets.
In the ongoing event, Pakistan remained unbeaten in Group B, while in Group C India suffered a shock defeat against the West Indies before it bounced back to win convincingly against Zimbabwe and PNG.
“We played India in the Asia Cup in Malaysia before this tournament and we won by one run, while the other game (the final) ended in a tie,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who is the second leading run-getter with 182 runs. “There is always a tight contest between us and we are expecting nothing different this time. Our players are aware of how exciting this is for the supporters of both the teams. They know that there will be millions of fans glued to their screens seeing the action when we meet. The last time we met the games were exciting so we hope that continues.”
India captain Unmukt Chand, who has scored 104 runs so far, termed Pakistan a ‘challenge’ but said his players were working hard to progress.
“We played Pakistan twice in Malaysia in June and learnt a lot from those matches,” said Chand. “So, we are confident that we can perform very well not only in the quarter-final but also in the rest of the matches.”
Meanwhile, defending champion Australia will take on Bangladesh in the first quarter-final today.
Australia won the event in 1988, 2002 and 2010 while Bangladesh’s best performance has been in 2006 and 2008 when it reached the Super League quarter-finals. The winner of the Australia-Bangladesh match will lock horns with the winner of England-South Africa match in the first semi-final to be played on Tuesday.
(With additional input from the ICC)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2012.