Visakhapatnam: Shreyas Iyer smashed a quickfire century to help Indian under-19 beat Australia by 18 runs in a rain-curtailed encounter and enter the finals of the quadrangular tournament here on Friday. With this victory, India U-19 rounded off their league engagements unbeaten, winning all three of their matches. They had earlier beaten South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Iyer sizzled with the bat as he hit 109 off just 67 balls, studded with 10 fours and six sixes to steer the hosts to a massive 321 for 5. He also stitched a valuable 170-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Ricky Bhui (66) to take the team past the 300-run mark. Even opener Akhil Herwadkar chipped in with a half-century to contribute to the team's success.
In reply, the Australians had reached 156 for 3 in 30 overs before rain stopped play and the Indians won via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Opting to bat, the Indians got off to a decent start with openers Ankush Bains (20) and Herwadkar (56) giving the team a platform to build on. After Bains's dismissal, Vijay Zol (38) continued in the able company of Herwadkar.
The duo played with a lot of responsibility and put on 62 runs for the second wicket before Herwadkar was sent back by Kelvin Smith for a well-made half-century that came off 65 balls with the help of eight hits to the fence and a six.
The new batsman in, Iyer, started to dominate from the start and did not show any mercy to the Australian bowlers during his innings. Iyer and Bhui sent the Aussie bowlers on a leather hunt with some fine batting.
It was Ben Ashkenazi who claimed the prized wicket of Iyer, while Matthew Fotia saw off Bhui but by that time the damage was done and the hosts were in control on 300 for 5 in 47.3 overs.
For Australia U-19, Kelvin Smith finished with 2 for 64, while Ashkenazi (1 for 43), Fotia (1 for 44), and Tom Andrews (1 for 54) took one wicket apiece.
Chasing a massive target, the Australian top order did well with opener Smith top-scoring with a 76-ball 74, including eight fours and a six. Damien Mortimer (31) and Jaron Morgan (29) also added some runs to the total but they were 18 runs behind according to D/L method when heavens opened up.
India U-19: 321 for five in 50 overs (Shreyas Iyer 109, Ricky Bhui 66, Akhil Herwadkar 56; Kelvin Smith 2 for 64).
Australia U-19: 156 for 3 in 30 overs (Kelvin Smith 74; Kuldeep Yadav 1 for 18).