India and Australia set to clash in U19 CWC semi-final on Wednesday
Antigua, February 2, 2022
Cooper Connolly is backing Australia’s new batting prodigy Teague Wyllie to help fire his team into the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup final 2022.
A talented India team stand between Australia and Saturday’s showpiece match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
However, Aussie captain Connolly believes his team have the ability to get there, particularly if his Western Australia teammate Wyllie can maintain his red-hot form as the three-week tournament reaches its conclusion.
Wiley has already scored 264 runs in four matches and going into the semi-finals is the fourth-highest run scorer at the World Cup.
“I said at the start of the tournament,” said Connolly, “that he (Teague Wyllie) was going to be a big run scorer for us.
“I backed him as a Western Australia man, I’ve seen him progress all the way from playing as a junior. He is a really talented guy.
“There is no reason why he can’t continue to do that and I think he can play a big role for us in these last couple of matches.”
The 18-year-old all-rounder also confirmed that facing their toughest opponent of the finals so far wouldn’t stop his team from playing positively.
His team chased down a big total in their group win over Scotland before putting 276 runs on the board in the Super League quarter-final win over Pakistan.
Connolly added: “There is no change from us in approach. We are just going to try and play some good cricket and hopefully we can knock off India.
“They are a very good side and we know that, but I think if we play our best cricket we can beat them.
“To reach the final would be pretty cool. I spoke to Mitch Marsh briefly about it, because he won the last one for Australia (in 2010)
“I’d love to be able to get to that spot and do the same as him.”
Meanwhile, India skipper Yash Dhull says his team’s warm-up victory over Australia last month won’t have any substantial impact on their final-four clash on Wednesday.
Dhull’s team thrashed the Aussies by nine wickets in Guyana prior to the competition proper getting underway, with the skipper himself scoring an unbeaten half-century.
That day the Indian spinners were in particularly fine form but Dhull believes the differences, in both conditions and the wicket, make Wednesday’s game an incomparable scenario.
“The wicket in the warm-up match against Australia Under-19s was different to the one we will have in the semi-final tomorrow (in Antigua),” he said.
“The game will be played depending on the pitch conditions. So, we will only know tomorrow how we will bowl and how we can put Australia under pressure.”
“We will look to play with a positive mindset. We will look to set the target as per the condition of the wicket and the situation of the match.
“Everyone is fit and fine and available for selection.”
Dhull was part of the group in the India team hit by COVID-19 earlier in the tournament, but recovered to produce an excellent display in the quarter-final win over Bangladesh.
He was also full of praise for the team’s coach VVS Laxman, who scored over 8,000 runs in test match cricket for the men in blue.
Dhull added: “VVS Laxman has been sharing his experience with us and been talking about the mindset we need to have. His role has been important for us.”