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It will be a battle of two talented spinners as India’s Ravi Bishnoi and Australia’s Tanveer Sangha will lead the charge for their respective sides in the quarterfinal of the ICC U-19 World Cup in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
White ball cricket in recent times has seen wrist spinners emerge as an important cog of any side and junior cricket is no different where Bishnoi, easily the tournament’s most impactful bowler, would like to give his team the advantage over the Australian side.
With 10 wickets from three games and a game-changing 4-30 against a gritty New Zealand side, Bishnoi has proved why Kings XI Punjab has invested Rs 2 crore in him during the IPL 2020 auction.
Statistically, even Sangha has been at his best with 10 wickets with 5-14 against minnows Nigeria. But there’s been a four-wicket haul against the West Indies and a wicket to show against England for the player of Indian origin.
Both the wrist spinners will be key to their team’s chances and Australia will look to improve their dismal record against India at the junior level.
In the last five U-19 encounters since 2013 (different teams have played though), India have won four with one game being abandoned due to rain.
India will start this tie as favourites, with the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal (two half-centuries), his opening partner Divyansh Saxena and skipper Priyam Garg all showing plenty of talent thus far.
In the bowling department, Kartik Tyagi – who breaches the 140 kmph barrier quite regularly – and left-arm seamer Akash Singh – who moves the ball back into the right-handers – are a heady combination.
There is also left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar, who came back brilliantly against the Black Caps in India’s last match despite being attacked early on.
He got three crucial breakthroughs but a finger fracture in his right hand could be an impediment while fielding.
While Jaiswal, Garg, NT Tilak Verma and Saxena make India’s batting look strong, Australia skipper Mckenzie Harvey – the nephew of former Australian all-rounder Ian Harvey – is a tough customer with the bat as he showed with an innings of 65 against England in their final group game.
Then there is Conor Sully, who bowls brisk medium pace and can also score a few quick runs.
India: Priyam Garg (C), Akash Singh, Atharva Ankolekar, Shubhang Hegde, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Dhruv Jurel, Kartik Tyagi, Kumar Kushagra, Sushant Mishra, Vidyadhar Patil, Ravi Bishnoi, Shashwat Rawat, Divyaansh Saxena, Tilak Varma, Siddhesh Veer, Divyansh Joshi.
Australia: Mackenzie Harvey (C), Cooper Connolly, Oliver Davies, Sam Fanning, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Lachlan Hearne, Corey Kelly, Liam Marshall, Todd Murphy, Patrick Rowe, Tanveer Sangha, Liam Scott, Bradley Simpson, Connor Sully, Matthew Willans.
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