Sharjah, Jan 4: Identical centuries from skipper Vijay Zol and Sanju Samson helped India lift the U-19 Asia Cup cricket title with a 40-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the final at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium here Saturday.
Put in, Samson and Zol struck 100s as India posted a competitive 314 for eight in 50 overs. Pakistan finished on 274 for nine after Saud Shakeel made an unbeaten 102.
India got off to a good start, with Ankush Bains hitting a 34-ball 47. But India were soon reduced to 85/2.
Samson survived a couple of chances but hitting the ball as hard as he does he’s going to get away with them more times than not at this level. Zol and Samson’s 100 partnership came with a soaring Zol six over long-on, it had taken 110 deliveries. The 150-partnership came off 146.
Zol went on to a serene 100, off 120 balls with six fours and two sixes, aggression mixed with finesse, but was out next ball caught at long on.
Samson went on to a 100 too, off 87 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. Samson fell straight after, caught at cover off a leading edge in the 45th over, the score on 286.
In reply, it was a fighting 89 balls 102 not out from Ghulam that helped Pakistan reach 274 for nine.
Chasing a massive target, Pakistan faltered from the very beginning, losing Mohammad Umair (17), Imam-ul-Haq (18), Hasan Raza (1) and Saifullah Khan (3) cheaply, reeling at 88 for four.
But opener Sami Aslam (87) played a sensible knock even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Leading from the front, skipper Aslam finally found an able support in Ghulam and the two put on a solid 93-run stand together for the fifth wicket to keep Pakistan’s chances alive.
Aamir Gani managed to break the dangerous partnership by dismissing Aslam, who struck 10 boundaries in 96-ball innings. Ghulam, however, showed a lot of character as he continued to play aggressively, scoring at better than a run-a-ball. But unfortunately for him, he kept running out of partners at the other end and it was a matter of time before Pakistan fell short by a huge margin.
Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers with figures of three for 72, while Deepak Hooda (2/37), Gani (2/39) and Chama Milind (2/44) claimed two wickets each.