U-19 World Cup: Skipper Hugh Weibgen and other Australians who could pose a threat to India in final

U-19 World Cup: Skipper Hugh Weibgen and other Australians who could pose a threat to India in final

U-19 World Cup: Skipper Hugh Weibgen and other Australians who could pose a threat to India in final

Team India have made it to yet another U-19 World Cup final, courtesy a thrilling victory over South Africa in Benoni on Tuesday. The ‘Boys in Blue’ ended up chasing the 245-run target set by the Proteas despite being reduced to 32/4 at one stage.

They face an Australian that that managed to pull off an equally thrilling chase, beating Pakistan by just one wicket in the second semi-final that took place just two days later, to set up a mouth-watering summit clash.

Watch: Pakistan players break down after U-19 World Cup semi-final loss to Australia

Reaching the U-19 World Cup final isn’t exactly something that the Indian team is unfamiliar with. They have nearly twice as many appearances at this stage of the tournament when compared Australia (5), the team second on this list. They won five out of eight finals starting with the 2000 edition, and currently are strong favourites for a record-extending sixth title.

Read | A look back at India’s 5 title wins and 8 appearances in U-19 World Cup final

India also know a thing or two about beating three-time champions Australia in the Youth World Cup final, having done so in 2012 and 2018 under Unmukt Chand and Prithvi Shaw’s leadership respectively.

On the eve of Sunday’s final that takes place at Benoni’s Willowmoore Park, we take a look at some of the Australian players who could pose a threat to the Indian team:

Hugh Weibgen

Australia skipper Hugh Weibgen has led from the front in the ongoing World Cup and is currently the second-highest run-scorer among Aussies in the ongoing edition, scoring 256 runs in six outings at an average of 51.20. Nearly half of those runs came in a heroic knock of 120 against ‘Old Enemy’ England in the Super Sixes, scoring at nearly run-a-ball as the Aussies recovered from a shaky start to post 266 that would turn out to be a winning total.

Australia captain Hugh Weibgen in action during the 2024 ICC U-19 World Cup. Image credit: X/@cricketworldcup

Weibgen also struck a 69-ball 68 against Zimbabwe during the group stage and also anchored the Aussie chase of the 92-run target set by Namibia where the three-time youth world champions had shockingly been reduced to 57/5 at one stage.

Harry Dixon

Harry Dixon and skipper Hugh Weibgen are among the leading run-scorers in the ongoing tournament and pose a key threat to the Indian team in the final, with the former slightly ahead on the run-scorers’ list with 267 runs in six outings at an average of 44.50. Dixon has been by far the most consistent of the Australian batters in this tournament, collecting three half-centuries and nearly scored a fourth against Sri Lanka, where laid the foundation for a successful chase with a 41-ball 49. Dixon was also Australia’s top-scorer in their thrilling semi-final victory over Pakistan, scoring a patient 50 off 75 deliveries. Prising out his wicket early in the innings will be a key talking point in the Indian team meetings ahead of the summit clash.

Tom Straker

Seamer Tom Straker not only is Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the ongoing tournament with 12 wickets in five appearances at a superb average and economy of 9.25 and 3.09 respectively, he is also one of the key reasons why Australia are in the final in the first place. Straker ran through the Pakistani batting lineup with figures of 6/24 as the two-time winners were bowled out for 178. The 18-year-old had also collected 3/16 to help Australia bowl Namibia out for 91 in what was his first outing in the tournament.

Callum Vidler

India had struggled against South Africa’s quality seam-bowling in the semi-final, where Kwena Maphaka and Tristan Luus’s early strikes had reduced the Indians to a perilous 32/4. The Aussies will be hoping seamers Straker and Callum Vidler are able to achieve something similar in the most important clash of them all.

Vidler has collected as many wickets as Straker in as many outings in this tournament at an average of 10.75 and economy of 3.88.