History favours India reaching U-19 finals

Published: Monday, February 4, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Christchurch: India and South Africa meet in the first semi-final of the ICC Under- 19s World Cup in Christchurch on Sunday with recent history suggesting Dilip Vengsarkar's side are favourites to reach the final.

The two teams have already met in the competition with India beating South Africa by 71 runs during the opening group stage of the tournament in Auckland two weeks ago. Wicket-keeper Chandan Madan scored an unbeaten 105 as the South African bowlers struggled to contain the Indian batsmen, but on the spin friendly pitches in Christchurch it could be a different story. Left-armer Ian Postman took four wickets against England on Friday to ensure his side's passage into the next round, and South Africa will be hoping his tidy line and length will frustrate the Indian batsmen. The South Africans have showed an admirable fighting spirit bouncing back from 85 for 4 against New Zealand to post 241 for seven, and registering 212 for five against England despite losing early wickets. On both occasions Western Province batsman Ryan Bailey was the key man, and along with Steven Cook and captain Hasim Amla of Natal, he will be expected to lead the way against India. India qualified for the semi-finals at a canter but suffered a blip when it was beaten by Pakistan on Thursday, and it needs to get more runs on the board if it is to overcome South Africa. "Bowling is our biggest strength but we have to put a score on the board as well and we can't afford to bat badly again," Vengsarkar said. "We need to put up a much better performance against South Africa. India will be looking to all-rounder Manvinder Bisla and stylish opener Parthiv Patel to build them a match winning total. Off spinner Rajesh Sharma and left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan are the danger men with the ball. Even though host New Zealand has been knocked out the match is still attracting interest with Sky due to televise both semi-finals and next Saturday's final. In the other semi-final Australia play the West Indies on Wednesday.

SA beats England to clinch semis spot

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