Under-19 cricket World Cup 2018: 5 key players for India ahead of final vs Australia

Ahead of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup final between India and Australia, we take a look at 5 players who could be difference makers for the Rahul Dravid-coached side.

India’s run to the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup final has left many fans surprised. India are normally a tough side to beat at this level but the domination which the current side has exhibited has not been lost on the cricketing world.

Ahead of the summit clash between India and Australia, we take a look at 5 players who could be difference makers for the Rahul Dravid-coached side.

Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw announced himself at the age of 14 when he slammed a record-breaking 546 in an inter-school Harris Shield match in 2013. Coincidentally, Sachin Tendulkar was also 14 when he first came into prominence in 1988.

After performing consistently in age group and club cricket, Shaw made it to Mumbai’s playing XI in their Ranji semi-final against Tamil Nadu in 2017. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring a hundred on his first-class debut.

Later, he also hit a ton on his Duleep Trophy debut and thus equalled his idol Tendulkar’s record of scoring a ton in his debut matches of both Ranji and Duleep Trophy.

Shaw has been in good form in the ongoing Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand scoring a 94 against Australia in the opening match to set up a 90-run victory. Shaw, so far, has accumulated 232 runs in five World Cup matches at 77.73.

On Saturday, Shaw, bought by Delhi Daredevils for ~1.2 crore, would look to shoulder the responsibility and become the fourth captain after Mohammed Kaif (2000), Virat Kohli (2008) and Unmukt Chand (2012) to lift U-19 World Cup.

Kamlesh Nagarkoti grabbed eyeballs by consistently bowling above 140kph. His gem was one that castled Australia’s Will Sutherland which was hurled at 145kph during India’s opener in the U-19 World Cup.

The 18-year-old, who hails from Rajasthan, had made a name for himself even before the World Cup though. Only two days after making his List A debut for his state team in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on February 26, 2017, he claimed a hat-trick against Gujarat. With this, he became the first player from Rajasthan to take a hat-trick in List A cricket.

Son of a retired Subedar in the Indian Army, Nagarkoti has 7 wickets in 5 matches in the tournament with an exceptional average of 15.14. Though he was quite good in all the matches, he kept his best for India’s quarter-final against Bangladesh where he bagged 3/18 to fashion India’s 131-run win.

Nagarkoti was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders for ~3.2 crore at the IPL auction in Bangalore making him the most expensive U-19 buy.