Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav became the first Indian bowler to grab a hat-trick in the Under-19 World Cup before the defending champions entered the quarterfinals with a patchy five-wicket win over Scotland in their low-scoring Group A match in Dubai on Monday.
Yadav's hat-trick was the highlight of a superb bowling effort by the Indians before they survived a collapse of their own to finish at 92 for five in 22.3 overs.
The Indians are on top in their group with two wins out of two and just one match to go. On a pitch, which seemed to be loaded in favour of the bowlers, Scotland won the toss and opted to bat.
The decision backfired as the Indian bowlers wrecked havoc. Opener Andrew Umeed scored half the side's runs with a 77-ball 44 before the rest capitulated miserably.
Gavin Main was the only other Scottish batsman to touch the double-figure mark with a 22-ball 16. Kuldeep and Aamir Gani were the pick of Indian bowlers with four wickets apiece. But Kuldeep shone brighter with his historic feat, which came in the 19th and 21st over. Nick Farrar (0), Kyle Stirling (0) and Alex Baum (5) were the batsmen to fall to Kuldeep in the spectacular spell.
The tweaker had Farrar caught by Deepak Hooda at square leg, before trapping Stirling leg before off his last delivery in the 19th over. Kuldeep completed the hat-trick in the 21st over when he crashed through the stumps of Baum to notch up a historic feat.
His 10 overs, including a maiden, yielded merely 28 runs. He was brilliantly backed by off-spinner Gani, who ended Umeed's resistance by piercing his bat and pad to rattle his stumps. Later he cleaned up the tail to complete a dominating bowling display by the Indians.
The defending champions were, however, in for a shock when they took the field for what looked like an easy chase. Their first wicket fell with just one run on the board when Chayank Gosain got opener Akhil Herwadkar (0) to edge one to wicketkeeper Baum. Skipper Vijay Zol went back without disturbing the scorer, while the rest of the top half failed to touch the double-digit mark before the middle order stepped in to arrest the slide and save the embarrassment.
Gosain was the wrecker-in-chief for Scotland and ended with impressive figures of three for 31 in his 10 overs. Sarfaraz Khan was the saviour for India with an unbeaten 51-ball 45, which included five fours and a six. He was well-supported by Hooda, who also chipped in with an unbeaten 40-ball 24 to help steer the team home. Hooda struck two fours during his stay at the crease.
Brief scores: Scotland Under-19s: 88 in 29.4 overs (Andrew Umeed 44, Kuldeep Yadav 4/28, Aamir Gani 4/28)lost to India Under-19s: 92/5 in 22.3 overs (Sarfaraz Khan 45, Chayank Gosain 3/31) by 5 wickets.