India seal final berth
India booked their place in the Under-19 World Cup final with a slender nine-run victory over New Zealand at Townsville’s Tony Ireland Stadium.
Unmukt Chand’s side battled to 209 for nine after being invited to bat first, with Prashant Chopra’s 52 the pick of three useful contributions at the top of the order.
A defiant half-century from wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher kept New Zealand in the hunt after they had lost early wickets in reply, but the Black Caps fell marginally short on 200 for nine.
India will now take on Australia in Sunday’s final, with their beaten opponents facing South Africa in the third-place play-off 24 hours earlier.
New Zealand struggled to make an impression with the ball upon winning the toss and India appeared well placed to post an imposing total when Chopra became the second batsman to fall in the 34th over, with the score on 132.
Baba Aparajith, who contributed 44, and Vijay Sol followed in quick succession, however, and wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals for the remainder of the innings.
Ben Horne returned 3-28 from six overs, while Matthew Quinn struck twice in the penultimate over to finish with 2-36.
India responded well, reducing New Zealand to 63 for four inside 18 overs with the aid of two wickets from Harmeet Singh.
Fletcher did his best to inspire a fightback, striking 53 from 89 deliveries, but when he was eventually bowled by Sandeep Sharma his side required 37 from 16 balls, with only two wickets in hand.
That target was brought down to 18 heading into the final over, which saw Sandeep hold his nerve.
Elsewhere, left-arm spinner Rahul Vishwakarma recorded extraordinary figures of 6-3 as Nepal dismissed Papua New Guinea for 89 en route to a six-wicket win in their play-off for 13th place.
Zimbabwe secured 15th spot with a 70-run triumph over Namibia, who were dismissed for 166.