Kuala Lumpur: An unbeaten 109 by Vijay Zol almost sealed a sensational victory for India before they fell short by just one run against arch-rivals Pakistan in a nerve-wrecking match of the Under-19 Asia Cup cricket tournament here today.
Chasing a stiff 288 for victory, the Indians could manage 286 for seven in their stipulated 50 overs despite Maharashtra batsman Zol's 119-ball 109 not out and his three fifty-plus partnerships with skipper Unmukt Chand (49 off 78 balls), Akshdeep Nath (42 off 28) and Rush Kalaria (30 off 16).
India needed 17 runs for a win from the last over bowled by Mohammad Nawaz and they were on course after hitting a six and two fours in the first, third and fifth balls.
India needed two runs for a win from the last ball but to the horror of the Indian camp, Mohsin Sayyed failed to score a single run, just driving back to the bowler. The 17-year-old left-handed Zol, who hit nine fours and a six during his stay at the crease, was left stranded.
Kalaria had a good outing with both the bat and ball and it was due to his four-wicket haul that India managed to restrict Pakistan to 287 after opener Sami Aslam set the tone with a 149-ball 121 with the help of 15 fours and a six.
Sent into bat, Pakistan lost Babar Azam in the second over to Mohsin Sayyed. But Aslam's 213-run stand for the second wicket with Imam-ul-Haq (88 off 97) brought them right back into the match at the Kinrara Academy Oval.
India didn't get off to a good start Akhil Herwadkar and Baba Aparajith within the first 10 overs. However, Zol along with Chand shared an 88-run stand for the third wicket to revive India's innings. After Chand's dismissal to Akhtar Waheed, Zol found an able ally in Nath who hit four fours and three sixes during his enterprising knock.
It was however Zol's 51-run stand with Kalaria that brought India within sniffing distance of victory. But Kalaria's dismissal to Mohammad Nawaz in the last over turned the tide in Pakistan's favour.
India are in the second place in the Group A standings behind table-toppers Pakistan.