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India crash out after a three-wicket loss

Vijay Zol scored 48

Dubai: Defending champions India crashed out of the Under-19 World Cup after suffering a three-wicket loss at the hands of a disciplined England in the quarter finals here Saturday.

Batting first, India managed 221 for eight, and then saw England chase down the target with five balls to spare at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

The start was delayed by half an hour due to fog and with conditions remaining overcast, the England seamers were at the top of their game.

On conditions favourable to seamers due to overcast conditions, Deepak Hooda (68) and Sarfaraz Khan (52) helped India post a decent total on a slowish track. But England rode Ben Duckett’s 64-ball 61 and Joe Clarke’s 42 off 45 balls to enter the last-four stage.

Needing four off the last over, Rob Sayer slashed left-arm seamer Chama Milind over covers to pull off a thrilling victory.

However, it was the penultimate over bowled by offie Hooda, which cost India dear as he conceded 11 runs to bring the equation down to a gettable four off six balls from 15 runs in two overs.

Earlier, seamer Matthew Fisher was the most successful bowler for England, picking up three wickets for 55 runs, his early blows giving his team the initial advantage.

Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, India’s most impressive bowler in the tournament, took as many wickets but, on this day, he ended up being on the losing side.

The seventh-wicket stand of 51 between Clarke and Rob Jones (28 not out) proved to be crucial for England. Jones then added 23 runs with Sayer (10) to help their side cross the line.

Opting to bat first, India were off to a disastrous start losing four wickets with just 24 runs on the board, including last match’s top-scorer Sanju Samson.

Deepak Hooda tried to stabilise the innings and played carefully along with skipper Vijay Zol, to keep the team in the hunt for a good score.

The bowlers kept Zol and Hooda on a leash, giving away only two boundaries in the first 20 overs. Both were lucky to be let off. Zol had a life on 9 when he drove one back to the bowler Winslade who failed to catch it on his follow through. Hooda was on 27 when he miscued a pull to mid-on, but Ed Barnard lost the ball under the sun.

Hooda broke a boundary drought that lasted nearly 16 overs when he charged off-spinner Rob Sayer and slammed one over cover. He remained positive, looking to pull the shorter balls but wasn’t always successful.

Zol and Hooda looked more at ease against spin, with Zol driving powerfully past cover. He fell punching Sayer to Ben Duckett who took a low catch at cover. His 48 helped India add 87 after their early wobble.

Once the sun came out the ball came on the bat better and the shorter balls were easier to put away, as Hooda targeted the deep midwicket boundary.

In between, he kept looking for singles, dabbing it wide of the ’keeper with no slip catchers around. A run out ended his innings on 68, when Jonathan Tattersall’s diving under-arm throw hit the stumps.

India managed 24 off the batting Powerplay, but the bigger impact was reserved for the last ten overs, in which they managed 74.

“I completely back my decision (at the toss) and my team backed me,” captain Zol said after the match.

“Yes, there were a few quite weird dismissals. [Matthew] Fisher deserves credit for taking three wickets and we were in a bit of panic. I think that was the difference.

“When I and Hooda started batting, the wicket settled down and it started coming on to the bat better as compared to early in the morning. It was a matter of eight to ten overs, but they bowled well.”