Australian under-19 coach Anthony Clark declared his group of young guns could “match it with anyone” after setting up another World Cup final showdown with undefeated India in a thrilling one-wicket semi-final victory in South Africa.
Australia holds the ICC ODI and T20 World Cups for men and women and an under-19 victory would complete the cabinet.
Raf MacMillan hit the winning boundary off the first ball of the final over of their run chase against Pakistan, courtesy of an inside edge that just missed his leg stump and flew away to the boundary.
It came after a scintillating bowling spell from record-breaking fast bowler Tom Straker, who snared 6-24 to help set up a repeat of the ICC men’s 50-over World Cup last year in which Australia, led by Pat Cummins, took down India.
Australia was 9-164 before a last wicket stand of 17 between MacMillan (19*) and Callum Vidler (2*) got them over the line.
“Never in doubt!” Australian captain Hugh Weibgen said after the win at Willowmoore Park.
“We had full faith in Vids (Vidler) and Raf to get the job done. There was quite a bit of emotion in the dressing room. I was quite tense and excited too. I still don’t know what really happened, but it was awesome!”
Both Australia and India will enter Sunday’s final undefeated, with India recording a two-wicket victory over hosts South Africa in their semi-final on Wednesday.
Clark is adamant his team has what it takes.
“We’re really pleased to have fought our way through to the final and we can’t wait to take on India on Sunday,” Clark said.
“The whole squad has done a terrific job throughout the tournament and there has also been a number of fantastic individual performances including Tom Straker’s 6-24 in the semi.
“India have obviously also had an outstanding tournament so far and we’re expecting they will provide very challenging opposition.
“But if we bring the same level of skill and application we have in our games so far, I’m confident we can match it with anyone.”