U-19 World Cup: India through to finals after heroic comeback
India under 19 Cricket captain Uday Saharan disclosed the thoughts that were going through his mind when he saw his side fall to 32/4 while chasing 245 against South Africa in the semi-final of the Under-19 World Cup.
Saharan stepped onto the crease when India were reduced to 8/2 following sensational opening spells from Kwena Maphaka and Tristan Luus.
When India lost their fourth wicket, Saharan stitched up a crucial 171-run stand with Sachin Dhas to shift the tide in favour of India.
Throughout the knock, the Indian skipper only had one thing in mind, to stay till the end.
"There was nothing going on in my mind. I had the belief in myself. My only thought was that I would play till the end. I knew it was a matter of one partnership and the match would be ours. So I was just telling myself again and again that I had to take it deep," Saharan said.
Saharan in his captain's knock of 81(124) struck only six boundaries. The right-handed batter who knows how to deal in boundaries was quizzed about the restraint after the game.
He revealed that he got it from his father, who also wanted to become a cricketer but couldn't achieve it.
"He also used to play in the same manner, taking it deep. So I tried to do the same. I knew I could play the big shots at the end if required. I knew as long as I was at the crease, the game was ours," Saharan said.
"When I walked in, the ball was seaming around. There was bounce as well. So I had to be conscious of that and could not play my shots freely. As the ball got older, it started coming onto the bat better. The odd ball was still bouncing but by then we were set and could handle it," he added.
While Saharan scored 81, Sachin Dhas was exceptional on the other end, with his ability to willfully score boundaries. His 96 was laced with eleven boundaries and a maximum.
"When I was in the middle, I was telling Sachin - or actually everyone who came in - only one thing: 'Just stay there till the end. I am here. If you are also here, we will surely get the runs. It will not happen that we are batting and we will not score the runs.' Outside the boundary line, our coaching staff is so good they never let the mood drop," Saharan said.
Their heroic effort with the bat guided India to a two-wicket victory and marked the ninth occasion when India made it to the final of a U-19 World Cup.
"It's a great feeling winning the semi-final. Finally, there was a close game. In a way, it was good practice for us. I am happy that we have reached the final under my captaincy as well," Saharan said.
India will face Pakistan or Australia in the final of the tournament on Sunday.