Defending champions India cruised to a 10-wicket win over neighbours and arch-rivals Pakistan in Potchefstroom on Tuesday to reach the Under-19 Cricket World Cup final for the seventh time.
India, the record four-time winners of the underage competition, dismissed Pakistan for 172 in 43.1 overs before comfortably knocking off the runs with 88 balls to spare.
India will play either New Zealand or Bangladesh, who meet in the second semi-final, for the title at the same venue on Sunday. Pakistan will contest the third-place play-off in Benoni on Saturday.
Yashasvi Jaiswal struck an unbeaten 105 off 113 balls, completing his century and sealing the victory in style with a six over deep mid-wicket.
“It’s a dream come true for me. To be able to do this for my country is a great feeling. To score a hundred against Pakistan in a World cup semi-final is something I can’t put into words,” said Jaiswal.
“They bowled well initially and we wanted to ride that out and we knew we could dominate them after that.”
Left-hander Jaiswal, who was snapped up by the Rajasthan Royals in the 2020 IPL auction, smacked eight fours and four sixes as he took over as the tournament’s leading runscorer.
He was ably supported in a leisurely chase by Divyaansh Saxena who finished 59 not out, his second fifty of the competition.
Jaiswal earlier picked up the key wicket of Pakistan opener Haider Ali (56) with his part-time legspin as Pakistan collapsed from 96 for two in an innings where just three players made double digits.
Ali and captain Rohail Nazir (62) helped Pakistan recover after losing Mohammad Huraira and Fahad Munir cheaply, but only Mohammad Haris, who hit a brisk 21 off 15 balls, provided any additional contribution.
Left-arm seamer Sushant Mishra took 3-28 while right-arm quick Kartik Tyagi and legspinner Ravi Bishnoi collected two wickets apiece.
“The pitch was good, and we didn’t put enough runs on the board,” said Pakistan skipper Nazir.
“I think Haider and I had a great partnership, we were at a good position at the 25-over mark, but Haider got out at a crucial point, and the rest of the batsmen weren’t able to take enough responsibility.”
He added: “We learn from all our mistakes, and the boys are confident and happy that we played some good cricket in the tournament.”
Pakistan, who were back-to-back champions in 2004 and 2006, haven’t beaten India at the U19 World Cup since 2010.
With political relations on a knife-edge, there has been no Test series between the two countries at senior level since 2007-08 and no white ball series since 2012-13.