Riding on an impressive all-round performance by skipper Abhishek Sharma, 29 and 4/37, India colts beat Sri Lanka to win the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup title in Colombo on Friday. With the victory, India completed a hat-trick of Asia Cup titles as they won the previous one in UAE (2014) and shared the inaugural tournament with Pakistan in Malaysia (2012).
India, coached by the batting legend Rahul Dravid, defeated the hosts by 34 runs in the final.
Chasing 274-run target, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 239 in 48.4 overs. Sri Lanka started the chase in top gear, scoring 27 for no loss in three overs, but soon lost Vishva Chathuranga in the fourth. The wicket did not slow the chase though as Reven Kelly and Hasitha Boyagoda took Sri Lanka to 75/1 after ten overs. The introduction of spinners slowed down the Lankans and while trying to increase the run rate they lost Boyagoda (37).
Kelly continued to play solid and with his captain Kamindu Mendis, they took Sri Lanka over 150-run mark. But after reaching his fifty, Kelly became the second victim of Sharma in the 31st over. The scale keeps tilting in favour of the Lankans as Mendis and Krishan Arachchige kept the scoreboard ticking, before spinner Rahul Chahar took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to dismiss Arachchige for 14. The hosts situation worsened with another wicket soon, this time through a run out, to be stranded at 201/5 in the 41st over.
Sharma then removed his counterpart Mendis for 53 and made Weerasingha his fourth scalp to finish his spell at 10-1-37-4. Chahar complimented his captain well as he reduced Sri Lanka to 225/9 with a double strike in one over and finished with impressive figures of 3/22 in ten overs.
Earlier after electing to bat first, Himanshu Rana and Shubman Gill scored impressive fifties to help India post a competitive total of 273/8.
India openers took the score to 67 before Praveen Jayawickrama dismissed Shaw in the 12th over. Shaw hit six boundaries in his 36-ball knock, whereas Rana smashed a six and six fours to top the scoring with 79 off 71 balls.
The wicket of Gill in the 44th over after scoring 70 off 90 balls, with India at 224/4, ensued a middle-order collapse as they lost next three wickets in one over to pacer Nipun Ransika.
Ransika’s (3/50) triple strike reduced India to 245/7 in 46.5 overs from 244/4 after 46 overs. A late charged by Kamlesh Nagarkoti, 23 off 14 balls, who hit a six and a four guided India to a challenging total.