Australia’s teenage cricketers emulated their seniors by defeating India to become global champions.
Hugh Weibgen‘s squad won the Under-19 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, by 79 runs over the incumbent champions on Sunday (Monday AEDT).
After scoring 7-253 in 50 overs, the Australians, spearheaded by their “cartel” of four fast bowlers and Raf MacMillan’s creative spin, dismissed India’s hitherto unbeaten team for 174 in 43.5 overs at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.
“It’s unbelievable, and I’m just so proud of the boys and our coaches,” said Queensland captain Weibgen.
“A lot of work has gone into this over the last year — but it gives you a fair bit of confidence when you’ve got a pace attack like ours.”
The kids became the fourth Australian U19 squad to win the competition, which has frequently found future stars, and the first since 2010, when Josh Hazlewood helped Mitch Marsh’s side win the title in New Zealand.
This time, victory came as a result of more outstanding fast bowling, with Australia’s gamble of playing all four of its highly promising quicks coming off as they proved much too persistent for an Indian batting line-up that was challenged to chase down a record score in a final.
The much-touted Harjas Singh then put a dismal tournament behind him, scoring only 49 runs in six innings, by hitting a half-century that included three sixes.
When India gained vital wickets and threatened to bowl out Australia, 17-year-old Ollie Peake, son of former Victoria star Clinton Peake, who was himself a young, triple-century-scoring wonder, delivered a gem of a finisher’s effort, hammering an unbeaten 46 off 43 balls.
“I’d always back us to defend a total of 250-plus when we have an attack like ours,” Weibgen told reporters.
Sure enough, India never looked like challenging the score when Queensland’s red-hot paceman Callum Vidler — motto: “if anyone ever tells me to slow down, I am not listening to them” — caught Arshin Kulkarni in only the third over.
However, it was player of the match Mahli Beardman (3-15 off seven overs) who was the real pick of the quicks, making the crucial double breakthrough of star batters Musheer Khan and captain Uday Saharan in his silky quick spells, while his pal Vidler took 2-35 off his ten and swing bowler Charlie Anderson 1-42 off nine.
Tom Straker, the other quick nicknamed “Monster Truck” who’d taken a record-breaking six-wicket haul against Pakistan in the semi-final, then got in on the final act, when wicketkeeper Ryan Hicks snatched his fourth catch to end the innings and spark wild celebrations.
The team’s fast lads refer to themselves as the “Cartel,” and Beardman, who had a certain DK Lillee as a mentor back in Western Australia, smiled: “Standing alongside Cal and the rest of the Cartel, it’s a dream come true — I feel super privileged.”
But spin had its day, too. The superb allrounder MacMillan captured Sachin Das with the first slow ball of the innings, and added two more vital scalps to his invaluable 3-43 off 10.