Darwin, Australia: Skipper Vijay Zol continued his fine form as his century helped India colts thrash New Zealand by a whopping margin of 165 runs to register their third victory in an U-19 Tri-series match on Thursday.
The left-hander and senior-most player in the side, Zol smashed 128 off 131 balls to power India to 276 for six in 50 overs and then bowlers produced a fine effort to skittle out New Zealand for 111 in 42 overs.
The victory has all but sealed India's place in the final of the tournament.
After an early dismissal of opener Ankush Bains (5), Zol in company of Mumbai youngster Akhil Herwadkar (55, 73 balls, 6x4) added 105 runs for the second wicket to steady the innings. During his knock, the stylish Maharashtra left-hander Zol hit 16 boundaries and a big six. Medium pacer Kyle Jamieson (0/51 in 6 overs) got some harsh treatment from the two Indian batsmen.
After Herwadkar's dismissal, Sanju Samson (11) and Mohammed Saif (17) didn't last long as India were in a spot of bother at 171 for four but Zol found an able ally in Sarfaraz Khan who hit a quickfire 29-ball-30. More importantly, he was involved in a 94-run stand for the fifth wicket with his skipper which took India past the 250-run mark.
With the pitch at the Marrara Cricket Ground assisting seamers, India's quartet of left-arm seamers Chama Milind (2/16), Kuldeep Yadav (3/22) along with right-arm medium fast bowlers Abhimanyu Lamba (2/21) and Atul Singh (1/14) ran through the Kiwis top-order.
After losing six wickets for only 35 runs, there was no chance of making a comeback and Indians coasted to an easy victory. Only Ken McClure (41) provided some lone resistance.
Brief Scores: India U-19 276/6 in 50 overs (Vijay Zol 128, Akhil Herwadkar 55, Kurtley Watson 2/32).
New Zealand 111 all out in 42 overs (Ken McClure 41, Kuldeep Yadav 3/22, Chama Milind 2/16, Abhimanyu Lamba 2/21).
India U-19 won by 165 runs.