Townsville: It will be a test of India’s batting skills against a formidable Pakistani bowling attack when the two arch-rivals lock horns in the quarterfinals of the ICC Under-19 World Cup here on Monday.
Indian colts managed to put their campaign back on track after losing the opening encounter to the West Indies, but their batting has been a big let-down.
Apart from their match against Zimbabwe, where the top-order clicked in unison, India’s batting has been inconsistent with some of the big names like skipper Unmukt Chand and Baba Aprajith failing to deliver the goods.
Chand has amassed 104 runs from his three outings in the tournament so far with 78 against Zimbabwe being the best, while Aprajith has managed a meagre 43 from a similar number of matches.
The only bright spot in India’s top order has been opener Prashant Chopra, who after a poor beginning against the West Indies has come back strongly to score a couple of half-centuries in the following matches.
Vijay Zol and wicketkeeper-batsman Samit Patel have been good with the willow in the middle order, but they definitely need to be better against a potent Pakistani attack.
India, though, can boast of a reliable bowling attack which has been able to deliver with some degree of consistency in the tournament so far.
However, against Pakistan it will be a different ball game altogether with their captain Babar Azam leading from the front.
Azam has accumulated 182 runs from three matches including an unbeaten ton against the Scotland. His only failure with the bat came in Pakistan’s previous match against the New Zealand. With the past record also not favouring the Indian colts, it will be a tough task for the Boys in Blue.
India enjoys an overall 9-7 record against Pakistan in Under-19 cricket, but Pakistan have performed better in big and pressure matches, having won five of the six contests in the World Cups. (PTI)