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India colts eye final berth

Calcutta/Townsville: Separated by thousands of miles, two India-New Zealand cricket contests will take place on Thursday. While one (Test) will involve the well-known senior players, the other will see a bunch of youngsters lock horns for a place in the final of the U-19 World Cup.

And, for a change, one assumes that the intensity of the colts’ match, in Townsville, will outshine their seniors’ encounter, which will be played in Hyderabad.

With their confidence at an all time high after the narrow win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the quarter finals, the India colts would look to carry on the good show against the Black Caps.

Having started on a poor note, after losing their opener against the West Indies, India managed bring their campaign back on track with back-to-back victories against Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea, before registering a narrow one-wicket win over Pakistan in the last-eight round.

However, the batting department remains a major cause of concern for the Indians going into the crucial game. Leaving aside the match against Zimbabwe, where the top-order clicked in unison, the Indian batsmen have been inconsistent so far in the tournament.

Captain Unmukt Chand has amassed 104 runs from his four outings in the tournament, with 78 against Zimbabwe being his best, while Baba Aparajith, before his match-winning half-century against Pakistan, could manage a meagre 43 from three outings.

India, however, can boast of a reliable bowling attack, which has been consistent in the tournament so far. The team is likely to rely heavily on the likes of Kamal Passi, Sandeep Sharma and Ravikant Singh to deliver the goods once again. Ravikant, who hails from Calcutta and who was a last-minute addition to the squad, has done exceedingly well so far.