DUBAI: Defending champions India kicked off their campaign on a positive note as they comfortably defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by 40 runs in their first marquee clash of this edition’s Under-19 World Cup.
The holders posted 262 for seven after opting to bat at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and then bowled out their opponents for 222 in 48.4 overs, with off-spinner Deepak Hooda registering figures of five for 41.
Sarfaraz Khan (74) and Sanju Samson (68) were the major contributors with the bat for the India U-19 side before Baroda player Hooda did the trick with the ball.
Pakistan were off to a solid start with the two openers, Sami Aslam (64) and Imam-ul-Haq (39) putting 109 runs together for the opening wicket. But their batting fell apart in the face of some spirited bowling from the Indians, managing to add only 113 runs for the loss of nine wickets.
Earlier, opting to take first strike, India rode on Akhil Herwadkar and Ankush Bains to put on 65 runs for the first wicket in just a little under nine overs, before Irfanullah Shah struck for Pakistan.
India U-19 skipper Vijay Zol did not last long as he was trapped in front by Zia-ul-Haq, just fours runs after Bains’ dismissal.
After racing to 41 off 46 balls, Herwadkar was bowled by leg-spinner Karamat Ali. Ricky Bhui followed suit, caught off Ali’s own bowling to leaving India in a spot of bother at 94 for four in the 20th over.
India needed a partnership at that stage and Sanju Samson and Sarfaraz Khan did the needful by putting up 119 runs for the fifth wicket to put the holders on track for posting a challenging total.
While Sarfaraz struck five fours and a six in his 78-ball knock, Samson found the fence twice while clearing it once during his 101-ball innings.
Both took their time to gauge the conditions and situation. They paced their innings differently and while Samson dropped anchor and held one end, Sarfaraz was given the licence to look for boundaries.
Sarfaraz swept the spinners and was successful in finding the gaps. After remaining scoreless for his first 15 balls and surviving a dropped chance at slip, he opened up with Samson too playing confidently at the other end.
A productive powerplay period followed for India as both players used their feet against the spinners to eke out 36 runs. But Sarfaraz got out soon, falling to a miss-hit, before Samson too made his way back to the pavilion.
Lower-order batsman Deepak Hooda made a quickfire 22 off 18 balls to help India reach a target that could challenge their opponents.
For Pakistan, Irfanullah Shah and Karamat Ali picked up two wickets each.