By Dominic Farrell
Ben Duckett paid tribiute to England’s bowlers after the Under-19 World Cup quarter-final victory over defending champions India.
A stylish half-century secured the man-of-the-match award for Duckett as Will Rhodes’ side held their nerve to secure a three-wicket win in the final over of the match.
But the batman was keen to focus on the efforts of opening bowlers Matthew Fisher and Jack Winslade, who combined to reduce India to 24 for four - from where their designs on posting an imposing total were not realised.
“The start that we had with the ball meant that India could not go hard as they had no wickets in hand,” Duckett told ecb.co.uk.
“As we kept taking wickets at the right time and creating pressure, their release shots were risky and not producing the runs intended.”
Duckett took a positive approach to playing the India spinners throughout his 61 and believed a similar outlook from the team in making an early call for the batting powerplay worked decisively in England’s favour.
“Despite losing wickets ourselves, the run rate we achieved throughout our innings meant that batsmen coming in were under less pressure,” he said.
“Against their spinners we looked to be positive and score quickly, and taking the powerplay early in the innings allowed us to play normal cricket shots, scoring 30 runs without the loss of any wickets.
“We are in a good position as we bat all the way down and, although it wasn’t easy on occasions, our batsmen were determined to see it through and get us over the line.”
Rob Sayer hit the winning runs and his partner at the time, Rob Jones, was understandably ecstatic.
“It was the best feeling I have ever had on a cricket field, being in at the end and doing it for the squad,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“All the hard work that the team has done over the winter paid off and to be in a position to take the team over the line was a great feeling.
"The team showed a lot of character and fight and it took a great team effort to overcome a very good India team. The ground fielding was exceptional and has been solid throughout the competition.”
England now face Pakistan in a mouth-watering semi-final clash. Pakistan were triumphant when they toured England last summer but Jones feels those results will not mean much in Dubai tomorrow.
“Whatever has happened in the past means little when we take on Pakistan in the semi-final,” he added. “Our victories against New Zealand and India have given us confidence going into the match.”