Townsville: India pulled off an exciting nine run victory over New Zealand in the semi-final of the Under-19 World Cup. They will take on hosts Australia in the final on Sunday.
Chasing 210, the Kiwis lost wickets at regular intervals against a disciplined Indian attack. They needed 18 runs in the last over - a feat they had accomplished in the quarter-final against West Indies.
But India's Sandeep Sharma restricted them to just eight runs.
Baba Aparajith, who made 44 and took 1/29 in his ten overs, was declared Man of the Match for the second match in a row. He had also won the accolade after India's victory over Pakistan in the quarter-final.
Earlier, India's middle-order frittered away the good start provided by the top half as the team posted a disappointing 209 for nine after being put into bat in the semifinal against New Zealand in the ICC Under-19 cricket World Cup here today.
Opener Prashant Chopra was the top-scorer for the Indians with a patient 104-ball 52, followed by number three batsman Baba Aparajith who added 44 runs to the total.
Skipper Unmukt Chand also did his bit with 31 runs off 44 deliveries but the rest of the line-up let the team down against a disciplined bowling effort by the New Zealand team.
For the Kiwis, left-arm spinner Ben Horne was the top wicket-taker, picking up three for 23 in six overs, while medium pacer Matthew Quinn managed a couple of scalps.
It was a decent start to the proceedings for the Indians as Unmukt and Prashant put on 51 runs for the first wicket before the former made his way back after becoming medium pacer Connor Neynens' only victim of the match.
Unmukt's knock included five hits to the fence.
Next man in, Aparajith took hardly any time to settle down and rotated the strike with ease.
Aparajith and Prashant combined to add 81 runs before the latter departed, caught one-handed by Kiwi skipper Will Young at mid on off Ed Nuttall's bowling.
Prashant struck five boundaries and a six during his innings. Aparajith departed a couple of overs later, his 61-ball innings ended by Indian-origin spinner Ish Sodhi.
The rest of the Indian line-up failed to make notable contributions as the team were restricted to a disappointing total.