India players celebrate a wicket during the U-19 World Cup semi-final match v Pak on Tuesday. Pic /AFP
Tauranga: For the first time since the start of the ICC under-19 World Cup, India's pre-match practice session drew a small crowd. While most of them zoomed in on coach Rahul Dravid, others tried to distinguish between skipper Prithvi Shaw and ace batsman Shubman Gill from the group.
Both Shaw and Gill are key figures for India when it comes to tomorrow's World Cup final against Australia. The pair has yet to be dismissed cheaply at the event and there is a sense of expectation on them from the whole nation. The batsmen are feeling the pressure.
'It's a huge game for us'"Obviously you are playing for your country, it's a World Cup… so it is a huge game for us. We've worked hard for it for the past two years. We're still working hard and really looking forward to the match now," Shaw told reporters ahead of the final.
Shaw's counterpart Jason Sangha was keen to brush Australia's defeat to India in the pool match under the carpet and wanted to focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past.
"India are in very good form but that does not bother us too much. At the end of the day, it is the grand final and it is about who plays better on the day," he said.
Pitch to help battersThe pitch for the final is supposed to be a good one for batting and despite a heavy downpour today, the afternoon start to the game means all the moisture would have disappeared by the start of play. It is learnt that the pitch for Saturday's encounter will be the same one that was used between New Zealand and Pakistan T20 match six days ago.
Chasing a total over 250 would pose a big challenge for both teams. India, however, will fancy their chances against an Australian bowling attack that relies far too heavily on all-rounders, rather than frontline bowlers. One area that is certain to favour India is the crowd, with more than 2000 people expected to attend the final.
Of course, the majority of spectators will be hoping for India to claim its fourth U-19 title.
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