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ICC U-19 WC: ‘Unbeaten’ India to take on Pak in semis

Three-time champions India will aim to book their place in the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2018 when they face their archrivals Pakistan in the second semi-final of the tournament at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Tuesday.

India and Pakistan will look forward to their semi-final after not getting to play each other in the Asia Cup in November.

En route to the semi-finals, India had won matches against Australia, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe to top Group B before clinching a huge 131-run win over Bangladesh in the quarterfinal of the tournament.

Pakistan, on the other hand, lost their tournament opener to Afghanistan before winning three matches in a row including three-wicket win over South Africa in their last-eight encounter.

Pakistan had beaten South Africa by 3 wickets in the quarters. The other semi-final will be played between Afghanistan and Australia. India have so far been unbeaten in the tournament, while Pakistan’s only defeat came in their opening match.

India coach Rahul Dravid said a match against Pakistan could be a good learning curve for the players.

“It’s exciting to play an India-Pakistan game because under-19 cricket is all about experiences, about giving them different learning environs. The last couple of years we haven’t had a chance to play Pakistan at any level, so it’s really nice that it has panned out the way it has.

“Irrespective of the result, at least the guys would get to feel what it is to play an India-Pakistan game.

Maybe somewhere along the line they will grow up as men and become cricketers who play for India and some of the Pakistani boys will play for Pakistan. They would have then done it before.”

Pakistan captain Hassan Khan said his team would take the India match as any other match rather than worry about the hype.

“There is definitely a build-up to this match but we want to take it like any other match. We have generally done well against India in under-19 cricket and the boys are really excited and looking forward to the match because we have not played them before.

“We have a good pace attack with bowlers like Shaheen Afridi and Muhammad Musa doing well and I think that is our strength. We also know that they have a good pace attack but it is all about how you bat on the deliveries you face. Our plan is to focus on our own cricket, concentrate on what is in our hands.”

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