Tuesday’s U19 World Cup Semi-Final produced a thrilling finish as India defeated the home team South Africa to reach a record 9th U19 WC final. Captain Uday Sharan produced a calm, composed knock to lead the side to victory. India will aim for the sixth title under the leadership of Uday Saharan on Sunday in Benoni.
Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas rescued the side from a knockout exit
Coming into chase a target of 245, India took an early blow as the South African bowlers Kwena Maphaka and Tristan Luss breathed fire with the new ball as they rattled the Indian top order including centurions Musheer Khan and Arshin Kulkarni. The side was reeling at 32/4 and almost felt like an exit for the 5-time champions.
Captain Uday Saharan then took the onus of steadying the innings along with Sachin Dhas. The latter played aggressive strokes with more than 100 SR, while the former stuck to the traditional approach of saving the wicket. Uday was seen discussing the match situation almost after every bowl with his partner.
The duo compiled a record 171-run fifth-wicket stand. Though Sachin Dhas fell short of a well-deserving century(96), Udaya Saharan continued his natural gameplay and made sure that his side would reach the finals quite comfortably. Uday was dismissed when the side needed just 1 run, but Raj Limbani hit the winning runs on the very next ball.
Uday’s knock reminded everyone of the former Indian Captain MS Dhoni, who produced innumerable knocks of the same composure, and the same ability to bat deep while soaking up all the pressure.
My dad also used to play similarly, says Uday Saharan
After the match, Uday Saharan revealed his habit of not losing hope and taking the match deep has come from his father, Pratap Saharan.
“My dad also used to play similarly; slowly and taking the game deep,” Saharan said after India won the game. “The ball was seaming early on but once the ball got old, it started coming onto the bat better.”
“We were well behind at one point. Kept saying one thing we have to bat till the end. Was a matter of one partnership. When I walked into bat, the ball was nipping a bit, and there was a good bounce. Later it started coming onto the bat better. We don’t let the morale get low in the dressing room at all – our environment and coaches are superb. Great feeling to reach the final. Got a taste of close games,” he added.
The Punjab Cricketer, Uday Saharan, is originally from Shri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. His father Pratap Saharn is an Ayurveda doctor and a former cricketer. Remembering his cricketing roots, Uday received a lot of support from his father from a very young age.
Uday’s cricketing journey led him to Punjab at the age of 14, driven by a desire to make a mark in the sport. Over the past five years, he has climbed up the ranks, representing Punjab in the U-14, U-16, and U-19 categories. The middle-order batsman earned his leadership role after a stellar performance in the Challengers Trophy, scoring an impressive 297 runs in five matches while captaining the India B team.