Sri Lanka U19s failed in their record-breaking chase as unbeaten India U19s retained their Youth Asia Cup title beating the hosts by 34 runs in the final played under lights on Friday at R. Premadasa International Stadium.

The Indian spinners led by captain Abhishek Sharma and leg-spinner Rahul Chahar dented the Lankan innings despite Kamindu Mendis and Revan Kelly slamming fighting half-centuries. The home team was bowled out for 239 in the penultimate over in chase of the Indian score of 273 posted heavily due to the half-tons by Himanshu Rana and Shubman Gill.

DSC_2760Rana and Gill shared 88 runs for the 2nd wicket and had no hesitation in picking out the odd boundary and rotating the strike after the pre-tournament title favourites, India opted to bat first. The Indian openers, Prithvi Shaw and right-handed Rana added 67 before left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama struck with a tossed up delivery which Shaw slog-swept straight to Hasitha Boyagoda at long-on.

The Lankan spinners tightened the run-flow before Jayawickrama cleaned up Rana’s defenses when he was on 71. Gill became Jayawickrama’s 3rd scalp when he too succumbed to the slog-sweep after making a well-compiled 92-ball 70.

Right arm seamer Nipun Ransika struck late to end on 3 for 50 denying any late impetus to the Indian innings as they managed only 70 runs off five wickets in the last 10 overs.

Chasing a stiff target of 274 under lights, Sri Lanka got off to a magnificent start clobbering the Indian seamers all over the park to accumulate 75 in the first Powerplay but in the meantime lost in-form Vishva Chathuranga when he mistimed a pull off fast-bowler Yash Thakur for 13.

Left-handed opening batsman Kelly together with Hasitha Boyagoda continued to pile on the runs but as the spinners came on the run-rate crept under 6 runs per over. Boyagoda chipped one to cover point off Abhishek Sharma after a stylish 38-ball 37.

Following the 78-run stand between Kelly and Boyagoda, Captain Kamindu Mendis brought out the sweep and reverse-sweep effectively to add 53 for the 3rd wicket with Kelly to keep Sri Lanka in the hunt but after being given a reprieve on 36, Kelly holed out to deep mid-wicket off Sharma to end his fighting 101-ball 62 which had 5 fours and a six.

DSC_2682-EditMendis ran out of partners while the required run-rate skied towards 9 runs per over. Krishan Sanjula fell to a brilliant catch by Rahul Chahar off his own bowling while Vice-Captain Ashen Bandara was involved in an ugly run-out.  

Mendis’ exciting knock of 53 off 57 deliveries was over when Himanshu Rana plucked the ball out of thin air when the left-hander’s attempted reverse-sweep off his counterpart Sharma failed to clear the inner circle. The Lankan tail could not trouble the effective Indian spinners on a wearing surface which was tough to score on.

This is incidentally the third successive win for India U19s in the Youth Asia Cup history after sharing the trophy with Pakistan in 2012 and beating their main arch-rivals comprehensively in 2014.

India U19s – 273/8 in 50 overs: Himanshu Rana 71, Shubman Gill 70, Prithvi Shaw 36, Abhishek Sharma 29, Nipun Ransika 3/50, Praveen Jayawickrama 3/53.

Sri Lanka U19s – 239 all out in 48.4 overs: Revan Kelly 62, Hasitha Boyagoda 37, Kamindu Mendis 53, Abhishek Sharma 4/37, Rahul Chahar 3/22.