India, a record four-time champion in ICC Under-19 World Cups, on February 2, Wednesday will face Australia in the second Super League semi-final of the 2022 edition at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
India, coming off a dominant performance against Bangladesh Under-19 in the quarter final match must be high on confidence after they trumped the defending champions by 5 wickets with a measured bowling performance.
In a repeat of the 2020 U-19 WC final, India bowled first and restricted Bangladesh to just 111 runs, thanks to their outstanding combined bowling efforts before their batters chased down the modest target with the loss of five wickets.
Ahead of the India U-19 vs Australia U-19 semi-final, let’s undertake a scan of the Indian bowlers who could light up the day with their smart abilities.
Son of a CRPF personnel, Ravi Kumar was a rather unheard name till a few months back. He was just an ordinary player who was plying his trade in Kolkata’s club cricket circuit. But that’s a story of the past now. The Uttar Pradesh-born left-arm seamer has emerged as a champion bowler for India U-19 unit, of course, his journey has been fraught with several ups and downs before he became the pace spearhead for his side in the mega event.
Ravi, who returned with terrific figures of 7-1-14-3 on a tacky track against Bangladesh in the fourth quarter-final of the world event, can move the ball both ways, and prodigiously at that, and he can deliver unplayable cutters.
The 18-year-old impressed all when he cleaned up right-handed batter Mahfijul Islam (2) with an inswinger in the second over during the match against Bangladesh.
If anyone deserves the credit for restricting Bangladesh to a low total in the quarter-final, it is none other than Ravi Kumar. However, his job isn't done yet. He has some major challenges ahead as India will take on Australia U-19 in the semi-final and the onus will be on the sole left-armer in the Indian bowling attack again if they have to pull off a victory against the men in yellow.
After Ravi Kumar, it was time for another left-armer, albeit of the slower variety, to get into action. Left-arm orthodox bowler Vicky Ostwal did his bit in not letting Bangladesh recover after the initial damage done by Ravi and the restrictive effort of Rajvardhan Hangargekar.
Ostwal kicked off the ICC U-19 World Cup 2022 with a remarkable performance in India's opening fixture against South Africa, picking up five wickets in his 10-over spell. The 19-year-old continued his stellar run of form with the ball as he picked two crucial wickets in an over against the defending champions to break the backbone of Bangladesh's batting unit in the quarter-final of the tournament.
Ostwal extracting turn and bounce from the track and sticking to a good line and length while bowling against Bangladesh, was just a glimpse of what the 19-year-old has to offer in the future.
The left-arm orthodox spinner will be one of the main bowlers for the 'men in blue' to look out for in the upcoming semi-final against Australia at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
The youngster from Maharashtra who is currently known for his speed and hard-hitting abilities will be another player India will rely on against the 'men in yellow' on Wednesday.
The India U-19 pacer has been tormenting batters with his speed in the mega event. He is someone who can clock 140 kph with regularity and can deceive the batters on his day. One of the major aspects of his bowling is the discipline that allows him to maintain a tough and tight line and length, which in return gives minimal room to the batters to free their arms.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), ahead of the quarter-final against Bangladesh, shared a video of a delivery bowled by Hangargekar on social media, showing the speedster breaching the defences of his teammate and knocking the leg stump over.
"Rajvardhan Hangargekar is all charged up ahead of the #U19CWC clash against Bangladesh," ICC wrote in the caption accompanying the video on Instagram on Saturday.
Besides his stunning bowling skills, Hangargekar is known for his hard-hitting abilities as well. The International Cricket Council not long ago shared Hangargekar's video on its official Twitter handle, where he smashed three consecutive sixes against Ireland.
The first Super League semi-final is scheduled to be held on February 1 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua between England U-19 and Afghanistan U-19.
The final of the ICC U-19 World Cup 2022 will be held on February 5 at the same venue.