Sangha confident ahead of U19 World Cup Final

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David Gavin

New South Wales Blues’ rookie and Australia Under 19s captain Jason Sangha is confident his team can become World Cup champions when they face India in the final on Saturday at Tauranga’s Bay Oval in New Zealand.

 “I don’t think there’s any nerves in our camp leading into tomorrow, we’ve played some really good cricket and we’re quite confident in our performance and in how we’re going to go into tomorrow,” Sangha said.

Australia Under 19s secured its place in the final with a convincing six-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the semi-final, where fellow NSW batsman Jack Edwards (72) guided his team to victory.

Edwards along with Sangha has been one of the stars of the tournament. Sangha has scored two half-centuries and averaged 43.2 across his five innings with the bat.

Edwards likewise has had an impressive tournament.

The 17-year-old from the Manly-Warringah club in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket has scored 188 runs at 47.00. His highest score of 73 from 90 balls came against India in the first match of the tournament in Tauranga, where Australia lost heavily by 100 runs.

Sangha said Australia was a different side compared to that first game.

“We’ve been playing some really good cricket and they haven’t seen our two quick bowlers (Zak Evans and Ryan Hadley), they didn’t play in the first game”.

NSW fast bowler Ryan Hadley has taken three wickets at an average of 30.33 and an economy rate of 3.79, in his four matches, since debuting in the World Cup against Zimbabwe.

However, the captaincy of 18-year-old Sangha has also been a significant feature of the Australian World Cup campaign, which was no more evident in the quarter final against England.

His decision to introduce South Australian leg-spinner and eventual match winner Lloyd Pope (8-35) into the attack in just the fifth over ultimately changed the game as England collapsed from 0-47 to be bowled out for 96 chasing 128 for victory.  

Sangha said it has been far more than his captaincy which has got his team to the final.

“It’s not just me running the ship, it’s a lot of the other guys taking a bit of ownership as well,” he said.

India secured its place in the deciding match with an emphatic performance against Pakistan in the semi-final winning by an incredible 203 runs.

Shuman Gill (102 not out) and Ishan Porel (4-17) were the star performers for India in an absolute dominant display.

Despite India Under 19s winning every match and not losing by less than 100 runs or 10 wickets during the tournament, Sangha said he doesn’t feel like his team is under pressure.

“I don’t feel like that we have that underdog title on us or India are the favourites.”

“At the end of the day, it’s a grand final and it’s whoever plays the best on the day wins.”

Sangha said that the Australian team has just become more and more confident throughout the tournament.

“I think for us it’s been a massive confidence thing, ever since that first game against India, we’ve just grown in leaps and bounds and we’ve always improved 10-15% every game, and I feel like right now we’re ready to play our best cricket.”

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