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Sarfaraz stars as India clinch U-19 tri-series title

India put up a spirited bowling performance before Mumbai youngster Sarfaraz Khan struck an unbeaten half-century to steer the team to a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh and clinch the U-19 tri-series one-day cricket tournament title here today.

After bundling out Bangladesh for 116 in 36.5 overs, India reached 117 in just 13.3 overs, losing three wickets in the process.

Opting to bat, Bangladesh kept losing wickets at regular interval as the home team bowlers wreaked havoc with leftarm spinner Mayank Dagar scalping three for 32, while Shubham Mavi (2/21) and Mahipal Lomror (2/11) claiming two wickets each at the Jadavpur University second campus ground in Saltlake here.

Chasing a modest target, India suddenly found themselves struggling at 42 for three in 6.3 overs from 38 for no loss.

But Sarfaraz, who plays for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, steadied the boat.

He hit a blistering 27-ball 59 not out (9x4, 3x6) and in the able company of skipper Ricky Bhui (20 not out from 20 balls; 4x4) put up an unbroken 75-run match-winning partnership to chase down the target in the 14th over.

The burly Mumbai right-hander, who had a quiet tournament before today’s match, returned to form with a superb knock. He was particularly brutal against Bangladeshi left-arm spinner Saleh Ahmed Shawon Gazi as he raced to the fastest half-century of the tournament.

Gazi conceded 15 runs and 20 runs from his ninth and 11th overs, respectively with Sarfaraz striking 4, 6 and 4 before following it up with 4-6-4-4 in the next over to reach to his fifty in 23 balls.

Close to identifying core team for WC: India U-19 coach Dravid
India Under-19 coach and batting legend Rahul Dravid on Sunday said he was close to identifying the team for the upcoming World Cup in Bangladesh next year. Earlier in the day, India U-19’s put on an impressive performance here to beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in a tri-series final and remained unbeaten throughout the tournament which also featured Afghanistan. “This was a good tournament as we start preparing for the World Cup in January. Some of the boys have put in strong performances and we are close to identifying the core team for the World Cup,” Dravid said.
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