Townsville (Australia): India set up a semi-final clash against New Zealand after pipping arch-rivals Pakistan by one wicket in the Under-19 World Cup cricket here Monday.
India held on to clinch an enthralling win against Pakistan while New Zealand snatched a win from the jaws of defeat over an in-form West Indies at Endeavour Park here.
India and New Zealand will play in the second semi-final at Tony Ireland Stadium Thursday (23 August) while Australia and South Africa will clash in the first semi-final at the same venue Tuesday.
At the Tony Ireland Stadium, India and Pakistan played out a typically tense match.
India lost wickets at regular intervals in what should have been an easy chase of 136. In the end, the last pair of Harmeet Singh (13 n.o.) and Sandeep Sharma (2 n.o.) held their nerves to help their team across the line in the 48th over.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat in overcast conditions. India had a dream start with fast bowler Sandeep picking up two wickets in the first over, buoyed on by a vocal crowd of Indian fans.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Umar Waheed then took the sting out of the India bowling attack and put on 55 runs for the third wicket before Waheed (27) was dismissed by Ravikant Singh.
Ravikant was destructive with the ball and quickly claimed the wickets of Saad Ali (1) and Salman Afridi (0). Azam finally fell for 50, dismissed by Baba Aparajith.
Rain threatened to disrupt play and the covers were brought on twice, but it did not stop India from bowling out Pakistan in the 45th over.
India almost mirrored the start made by Pakistan in the morning, and were eight for three at one stage after Zia ul-Haq and Ehsan Adil picked up the wickets of openers Prashant Chopra (4) and Unmukt Chand (0).
Aparajith (51) and Vijay Zol (36) then steadied the ship and combined for a fourth wicket stand of 66 to get India back on track. India looked to be sitting comfortably when Aparajith was dismissed. India slipped from 120 for five to 127 for nine as Pakistan's Azizullah struck at regular intervals.
The last pair of Harmeet and Sandeep, however, kept their heads and slowly chipped the ball around. It was Harmeet who finally scooped the ball over deep square leg to secure a memorable win for India.
"I ran on the first run. I couldn't either breathe or cry or laugh, the emotion was tremendous. I backed myself and knew Sandeep could play, it was just about handling pressure. Obviously, the mind gets blocked but I took this as an occasion which I have to enjoy," said Harmeet.
Brief scores (quarterfinals):
India beat Pakistan by one wicket, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville
Pakistan 136 all out, 45.1 overs (Babar Azam 50, Ehsan Adil 35; Sandeep Sharma 3-24, Ravikant Singh 3-43), India 137 for nine, 48 overs (Baba Aparajith 51, Vijay Zol 36; Zia-ul-Haq 3-23, Azizullah 3-30, Ehsan Adil 2-25).
New Zealand beat West Indies by three wickets, Endeavour Park, Townsville
West Indies 237 all out, 50 overs (Akeal Hosein 54, Kraigg Brathwaite 53, Sunil Ambris 35; Matthew Quinn 3-54, Ish Sodhi 2-36, Jacob Duffy 2-42), New Zealand 238 for seven, 50 overs (Ben Horne 59, Cam Fletcher 49, Robert O'Donnell 42; Ransford Beaton 3-47, Kyle Mayers 3-42).