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Two-time former champion India defeated New Zealand by nine runs on Thursday in the second semi-final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012 to set-up Sunday's final with defending champion Australia. Defending just 209 runs, India produced an outstanding bowling and fielding performance to restricted New Zealand to 200 for nine in 50 overs. India's Baba Aparajith was declared player of the match after the youngster followed up his 61-ball 44 with figures of 10-1-29-1.
While India will take on Australia at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, New Zealand will play South Africa in the third-fourth position play-off on Saturday at Endeavour Park.
Put into bat, India appeared to be starting to peak just at the right time and looked comfortable with the new ball, managing to do what most other teams have failed in at Tony Ireland Stadium â€“ not to lose early wickets.
The New Zealanders were sharp in the field and Captain Will Young, quite possibly took the catch of the tournament, a one-handed dive at mid-wicket to dismiss Prashant Chopra (52, 104b, 5x4, 1x6) who was looking to settle himself at the crease.
The rest of India's top order contributed well and they looked set to post an ambitious target before left-arm spinner Ben Horne struck with three quick wickets and slowed the India run-rate down.
In reply, New Zealand also looked at ease against the new ball, not losing its first wicket till ninth over.
Harmeet Singh was again dangerous with the ball, taking the wickets of Horne and Young who had previously dominated for the young New Zealanders.
Robert O'Donnell and Cam Fletcher combined for a valuable fifth wicket stand of 54 before the 17-year-old O'Donnell was dismissed caught and bowled by Aparajith.
Fletcher top-scored for New Zealand with 53 and looked the likely to be the hero for the Kiwis before he was bowled by Sandeep Sharma in the 47th over.
It was deja vu for the Kiwis, needing 18 off the last over again but Sharma was too good for the Indians, bowling tight in the last over to see New Zealand fall just short.
Aparajith said he was pleased with his team's improvement during the tournament.
"We knew that the first game would be really tough as we knew that getting used to the conditions would take a little time. Last time we were in Townsville we lost the first few matches but then we gained momentum.
"It has been really good to play in Australia and adapting to any type of wicket is really good.
"We knew on this ground that 210/220 would be a fighting score and we thought that it would be a very difficult score on this wicket," he said.
Aparajith said that the team thinks it will do well against Australia in the final.
"They have been fielding and bowling well but if we play to our potential we will do well," he added.
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