India to take on England in ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup final on Saturday
Antigua, February 5, 2022
India will be aiming for a record fifth title when they take on England in the final of the ICC Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup final in Antigua on Saturday.
Both teams have been unbeaten on the way to the final and know that the only way to come out on top will be to keep playing attacking cricket.
For India, this is their fourth successive final while for England it has been their best ICC U19 Men's CWC outing in 24 years since their one victory.
Skipper Tom Prest is only too aware of that history and how much his side have already achieved, and, with the likes of Joe Root and Eoin Morgan having been in touch to offer their support, he is hoping to imitate the squad of 1998.
He said: “It’s the first time in 24 years that England have been in this final. I don’t know if we can believe it at the moment, we’re going to be playing in a World Cup final. It’s something you dream of growing up, so we’re all really excited and can’t wait to play.
“This morning we had messages from quite a few of the England senior team, saying that they had been following it and been really impressed with us. So it’s nice to know we have so much support from back home.
“They were saying that how impressed they have been with us and proud of what we have done getting to our first Under-19 Men’s Final in 24 years. It’s amazing to know they have been watching and following.
“We’ve tried to play that attacking brand of cricket that Eoin Morgan instilled in his squad. Whether that is with the bat, ball or field, we always try to take the positive option. That was one of the messages they were saying in their video they sent this morning – to not back down from the big occasion in the final and still play with that positive intent.”
England should be familiar with the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, having seen off both South Africa and Afghanistan there in the quarter-final and semi-final, respectively.
For India, meanwhile, it will be a new venue after their impressive wins over defending champions Bangladesh in the quarters and then Australia last time out.
In the semi-final, skipper Yash Dhull hit a century, and he is hoping for more of the same as India try to contain England’s big hitters, with long-time India skipper Virat Kohli having offered some words of support to the players.
He said: “It will be a good challenge against England. They play attacking cricket and look to dominate the opposition. Our approach against them will be to bowl as many dot balls as possible.
“The team morale is high. We are excited to play the final. It’s the final but it is still just a game. So, we will play with the positive mindset, stick to the basics and we will look to execute our plans.
“He (Virat Kohli) gave us his best wishes as the team is doing well. So, his words will give us confidence. When a senior player speaks with the team, the team morale gets a boost. He spoke to us about some basic things such as how to play normal cricket, how to stick to our game plan etc. It was good to interact with him.”
India have won the tournament a record four times in total, in 2018, 2012, 2008 and 2000.
Dhull and some other Indian players were forced to miss matches during this edition of the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. The captain is back to full health now and is in good form, as shown by his sparkling 110 in the semi-final against Australia.
“The team morale is high, we are excited to play the final,” Dhull said in Friday’s media conference.
“It’s the final but it is still just a game. So, we will play with the positive mindset, stick to the basics and we will look to execute our plans.”
India have caught the eye with the bat throughout the World Cup, but with the ball they have been quietly excellent too, managing to restrict all five of their opponents to totals less than 200 so far.
Against a big-hitting England that record may be threatened, but Dhull says that his bowlers have a plan and will be aiming to keep it tight against such a dangerous opposition.
“It will be a good challenge against England. They play attacking cricket and look to dominate the opposition.
“Our approach against them will be to bowl as many dot balls as possible.”
The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Final will start at 09:00 local time at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.
Graeme Le Brooy will be the Match Referee for the final and the match officials standing in the game will be Roland Black of Ireland and Asif Yaqoob from Pakistan. Pakistan’s Rashid Riaz will be serving as the TV umpire and Jacqueline Williams from the West Indies will be the fourth umpire.