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Men’s U19 WC: We didn't come here to win the semifinal, we came here to win the final, says Straker

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Men’s U19 WC: We didn't come here to win the semifinal, we came here to win the final, says Straker

Benoni, Feb 10 (IANS) Fast-bowler Tom Straker, the hero for Australia in their thrilling U19 World Cup semifinal win over Pakistan, said the talk in the team was just about not being satisfied with a victory in the last-four stage and that they aim to win the final too.

Sunday will see Australia clash with defending champions India at Benoni’s Willowmoore Park to decide the winner of the 2024 U19 Men’s World Cup. Both teams have been unbeaten throughout the competition ahead of the title clash.

“Everyone was still so excited. Then we were like ‘We’ve had our fun, but it has to stop now’. We’ve still got a grand final to win. We had a quick conversation about it and just said, ‘We didn’t come here to win the semifinal, we came here to win the final’,” said Straker about the talk in the team bus after the semifinal win to cricket.com.au.

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Straker was the Player of the Match in the tense semifinal win over Pakistan with a spell of 6-24, the best-ever figures in the final four stage of the tournament. “We had a TV in our viewing area and the commentators were talking about it, all the boys were loving it, but I was like ‘It’s a good record to have’ but I wasn’t too fussed about it. It’s a pretty proud moment, but in the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter,” he said.

“We’re all just looking at each other like, ‘Oh no’. But Vidler’s batting is not the worst for a No.11, so we had faith, and Raf’s batted well for us, he’s saved the day before, so we were confident. We hit the winning runs and everyone just erupted,” he added.

With India showing they can pull themselves out of trouble in their two-wicket win over South Africa in the first semifinal, where they recovered from 32/4 to chase down 245, Straker thinks their bowling attack has it in them to scare the Uday Saharan-led side.

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“We have a pretty good bowling attack. We’ve scared a few teams during this tournament and hopefully, we do the same to India in the final. The pitch here is a bit bouncy too. As you’ve seen throughout the tournament, we use our bouncers a lot so that will be part of our game plan. All the boys here, especially Mahli and Vidler, love a bumper, we’re Australian fast bowlers, of course, we love a bumper, so I’m sure there will be plenty of those.”

“When the draw came out, we had a quick look at it and thought if everything goes to plan, hopefully, we’re in the final and we were always hoping it would be India in the final (as well). Obviously, their batting has been a pretty big part of their success and so has our bowling so it should be a good match-up,” he concluded.

–IANS

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