On this day in 2008: Virat Kohli-led India U-19 team wins the World Cup

On this day 14 years ago, current India skipper Virat Kohli became a household name in the country after leading the Indian U-19 team to the 2008 World Cup triumph in Malaysia. In a game where fortunes swung from one side to another throughout, the Kohli-led side eventually defeated South Africa by 12 runs (D/L method) to help India lift the crown for the second time. Apart from captain Kohli, the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Abhinav Mukund, Iqbal Abdullah, Saurabh Tiwary and Siddarth Kaul were part of the star-studded India U19 team. The South African team also had some future stars like captain Wayne Parnell, Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw.

India falter early

Parnell won the toss and decided to bowl first. His decision proved right as India were bowled out for a modest total of 156. Parnell gave his side the first breakthrough by dismissing Taruwar Kohli for just 1 and India could not recover from that early setback. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals as they huffed and puffed to 158. Tanmay Srivastava top-scored for India, scoring 46 while Tiwary (20) and Pandey (20) also played crucial knocks.

As far as Kohli is concerned, the captain scored 19. For South Africa, Parnell, Matthew Arnold and Roy Adams picked up 2 wickets apiece while Pieter Malan and Yaseen Vallie took one wicket each. With a modest target to chase, South Africa were looking destined to win their first-ever U19 World Cup. However, India had some other plans. Kohli and his teammates held their nerve in the rain-affected game to win it by 12 runs (D/L method).

The shaky chase

With a small target to defend, India needed a good start with the ball and their bowlers duly obliged before rain intervened. Pacer Ajitesh Argal sent back Pieter Malan and Rossouw cheaply before a terrible misunderstanding between JJ Smuts and Reeza Hendricks led to the former’s run-out and reduced South Africa to 11 for 3. Minutes later, rain arrived and halted the game for a while. When the game resumed, the target was revised to 116 in 25 overs.

Five runs after the resumption, South Africa suffered another setback when Jadeja sent back Jonathan Vandiar to reduce them to 22 for 4. But before India could make further inroads in the game, Hendricks and Parnell steadied the ship. The duo added exactly 50 runs for the fifth wicket but struggled to hit the boundaries on the damp outfield. Jadeja broke the stand when he dismissed Hendricks for 35.  At that stage, South Africa needed 44 off five overs.

Four runs after Hendricks’ departure, Iqbal Abdullah struck to reduce South Africa to 75 for 6. The onus was on Parnell and Bradley Barnes to guide South Africa home but the duo struggled against Jadeja and Abdullah, managing just 12 runs in the penultimate two overs from the left-arm spinners. In the final over, Kaul had to defend 19 runs and he did it without much trouble. Barnes started well by hitting the first ball for a four but the next five deliveries yielded only two as well as his and Parnell’s wicket as India won their second U-19 World Cup and first since 2000.