Saharan, Dhas lead India into ninth final with epic partnership

South Africa

India Under-19s 248 for 8 (Dhas 96, Saharan 81, Maphaka 3-32, Luus 3-37) beat South Africa Under-19s 244 for 7 (Pretorius 76, Seletswane 64, Limbani 3-60, Musheer 2-43) by two wickets

India’s title defense at the Under-19 World Cup met its sternest challenge from hosts South Africa in a pulsating semifinal clash in Benoni. Then Uday Saharan, the captain, and Sachin Dhas put on a game-changing 171-run stand that set the tone for a come-from-behind victory. India are now into their fifth straight final, where they await the winner of Thursday’s semi-final between Pakistan and Australia.
For the first time in the tournament, India decided to chase. And at 32 for 4 in their chase of 245, they were on the rack. South Africa’s pace attack brought fire, hostility and plenty of thrills to an engaging opening burst where every ball was an event of its own. It needed Dhas’s ice-cool temperament and Saharan’s steel to bail India out with a record fifth-wicket stand at men’s Under-19 World Cups.
Yet, despite the record partnership, India had late jitters when Dhas, Aravelly Avanish and Murugan Abhishek fell in quick succession. India needed 18 off 16 with three wickets in hand. Raj Limbani, the swing bowler who had landed the early punches with three massive strikes, then flicked his first ball for six over deep midwicket to take India within touching distance.
Saharan nearly saw India home but was run out with India needing one run. It took him an eternity to walk off, distraught at not being able to finish the job, but he wasn’t to be denied as Limbani belted a boundary off Nquobani Mokoena to trigger joyous scenes in the Indian camp. South Africa were crestfallen, wondering how they let India escape after they had had them ducking and weaving to evade bouncers from Kwena Maphaka and Tristan Luus in an unplayable opening spell.

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