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Ricky century takes India into Youth World Cup finals

The Semi Final of the Youth World Cup saw India take on Australia at the Saravanamuttu Stadium at Colombo. Big matches often separate the men from the boys. This match certainly brought out the best in Ravneet Ricky.

On winning the toss, Indian captain Mohammed Kaif immediately elected to bat first. The way his openers had been playing, he certainly would have been confident of getting a good start. As it turned out, that was exactly what happened. Ravneet Ricky and Manish Sharma alternated well and struck the ball off the meat of the bat with regularity. When Sharma was going great guns, Ricky was comfortable playing second fiddle. Rotating the strike with a maturity beyond his years, Ricky let Sharma take most of the strike.

When Sharma notched up his fifty in the 21st over, Ricky was still in the thirties. Ricky then moved into a higher gear and matched Sharma shot for shot. Ricky brought up his fifty soon after.

However, Sharma was dismissed after he made 65 and after that it was Ravneet Ricky all the way. Ricky who was well set by this time, went after anything that was either slightly overpitched or short and spanked the ball to the boundary with regularity.

India brought up the 200 in the 43rd over without much difficulty. Ricky was nearing the three figure mark but did not get bogged down. He continued to strike the ball fluently and used his feet well.

Yuvraj Singh got his act together and as the innings drew to a close the Indians began to accelerate quickly. Ricky too got into the act and came down the wicket and hit consecutive boundaries through midwicket. In an attempt to boost the already bloated scoring rate, Ricky gave himself room and tried to hit the ball through the off side. Watson had the ball dead on target and when Ricky missed he hit. Ricky's 108 included 12 boundaries and was the backbone of the Indian innings. India ended on a matchwinning 284/6. The total overwhelmed the Australians, who slumped to a comprehensive 170 run defeat.

There can be no two opinions on the value of Ricky's innings. His century was the only one by an Indian in the entire Youth World Cup. Talking to CricInfo after the match, Ricky said "It was not easy out in the middle. There was a bit of moisture in the wicket and as a result it was a bit two paced. The ball was not coming onto the bat well." He added, "It is difficult to concentrate for long spells out in the middle, but is not impossible."

That is the kind of spirit that will take Ravneet Ricky very far.

Under-19 World coup, 1999-2000

2nd Semi-Final: Australia Under-19s v India Under-19s at Colombo (Sara), 25 Jan 2000
[Scorecard | Match Reports | Run-Rate Comparison | Over Graphs]

Interview with Ravneet Ricky [Listen]

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Ravneet Ricky

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