After 22 days of intense action, the curtain came down on the 2018 edition of the Under-19 World Cup on Saturday (February 3). India clinched the title for a record fourth time, beating Australia in the final by eight wickets at Bay Oval in Mt Maunganui. There hasn’t been another side that has dominated the way the Indians have in this tournament, but there were spectacular efforts from each of the remaining 15 sides in the competition.
Wisden India takes a look at 12 individuals that have caught the eye, and could go on to achieve bigger things in years to come.
Matches: 6; Runs: 372; Average: 124; HS: 102 n.o.
Gill has been one of the most impressive players in the competition, and was rightly named the player of the tournament for his exploits with the bat. His technically sound approach earned him three half-centuries (against Australia, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) and an unbeaten century (against Pakistan).
Matches: 6; Runs: 261; Average: 65.25; HS: 94
Shaw came in with the reputation of being a run-machine, having consistently scored centuries in first-class cricket in the lead-up to the tournament. Starting from the league phase, he provided India with good starts in several games, leading from the front and never letting the middle order come under pressure. His knock of 94 helped India rack up a big total against Australia in the first game and build momentum for the rest of the tournament.
Matches: 6; Wickets: 9; Average: 16.33; Best: 3 for 18
India’s pace attack has surprised a lot of people in this tournament. The first match under lights at Bay Oval saw two bowlers – Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi – clocking speeds of 145-148 kmph, rattling the Australian batsmen who were up against it. As the tournament went on, Nagarkoti proved he can not only be very fast, but also quite accurate.
Matches: 5; Runs: 216; Average: 43.20; HS: 73
Edwards was one of the many strong batsmen Australia brought with them for this event, and he impressed with his maturity at the top of the order. Though he got only two fifties, his impressive strike rate of 104.34 reflects how he dominated the bowling early on, giving his side a good start on most occasions.
Matches: 5; Wickets: 12; Average: 14.58; Best: 6 for 15
The tall left-arm pacer has lived up to the reputation of being able to swing the ball at great pace. Afridi bowled with fantastic accuracy right through the tournament, and the highlight of his campaign – a spell of 6 for 15 against Ireland – went on to play a big role in Pakistan finishing third in the tournament.
Matches: 5; Wickets: 6; Average: 26.66; Best: 4 for 14
The shy, soft-spoken spin-assassin has been one of the best discoveries for Afghanistan in the recent months. Zadran has already played for the senior national team, and has been on the radar of the Bangladesh Premier League and the Pakistan Super League. But his exploits in the U-19 World Cup helped him bag the biggest pay-cheque so far – an Indian Premier League contract with Delhi Daredevils.
Matches: 5; Wickets: 14; Average: 12.50; Best: 4 for 33
Bowling in the shadow of Mujeeb, Qais has slowly but surely made a name for himself with his efforts right through the tournament. Finishing as the joint-highest wicket-getter in the tournament, Qais spun a web around his opponents every time Afghanistan took the field. His 4 for 33 against New Zealand crippled the hosts and allowed the Afghans to qualify for the semifinals.
Matches: 6; Runs: 184; Average: 46; HS: 99 n.o. Catches: 11
Though Raynaard van Tonder’s big scores hogged most of the limelight around South Africa’s campaign, it was Makwetu who quietly helped his side out with valuable knocks and contributions from behind the stumps. His unbeaten knock of 99 against Windies in the first game of the tournament paved the path for South Africa to register a win and get going in the competition.
Matches: 6; Runs: 276; Average: 46; HS: 71. Wickets: 8; Average: 25.00; Best Bowling: 5 for 43
Afif was the most consistent performer for Bangladesh in the tournament, drawing them out of tricky situations with both bat and ball. His all-round show helped Bangladesh finish sixth in their campaign – a result that shouldn’t disappoint too many supporters, especially knowing they ended ahead of the likes of England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Windies, the defending champions.
Matches: 5; Runs: 239; Average: 119.50; HS: 102 n.o.
Indiscipline ahead of in England’s final match of the tournament – the seventh-place playoff against New Zealand – marred Brook’s run, but he had been excellent with the bat, leading his team with example till that point. Apart from the rare duck against Australia, Brook had a very good tournament, scoring one century and two half centuries in five appearances.
Matches: 6; Runs: 338; Average: 67.60; HS: 115 n.o.
Allen, New Zealand’s No. 3, was the biggest revelation for the hosts. Allen has shown traits of being able to combine aggression and patience, depending upon the situation the team found itself in, and came out with splendid knocks to support the cause. His unbeaten 115 against Windies, the defending champions, handed New Zealand a brilliant opportunity to finish in the top two from Group A, considered widely as the group of death ahead of the competition.
Matches: 6; Runs: 418; Average: 104.50; HS: 116 n.o.
Windies couldn’t pull off any of the magic they had shown in the previous edition of the U-19 World Cup, where the came from nowhere and won the title by beating a strong Indian side in the final. But Athanaze, Windies’ No. 4 batsman, singlehandedly kept fighting to try and get his side to qualify for the knockouts. He hit two unbeaten centuries – against Kenya and Sri Lanka (in the Plate final) – to finish on top of the run-getters’ list, well ahead of Gill at No. 2.