After their run to the Under-19 World Cup semifinals in early 2016, the new-look Bangladesh Under-19 team notched a major scalp yesterday by defeating their Indian counterparts by eight wickets and knocking the defending champions out of the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup
Powered by opener Pinak Ghosh's unbeaten 81, the clinical win in their Group-A fixture at the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur, means that the young Tigers emerge from their group as unbeaten champions and have now qualified for the semifinals.
After being sent in to bat, India posted 187 for eight in a rain-interrupted game that was reduced to 32 overs a side, but the young Tigers sped to 191 for two in just 28 overs to clinch an easy win.
According to Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB's) age-level selector Ehsanul Haque, who is accompanying the team in Malaysia, the victory should give Bangladesh more confidence when they face Pakistan at the Kinrara Academy Oval in the first semifinal tomorrow.
“I think the boys played some fearless cricket to beat a strong side like India. We were under a bit of pressure as we had to win after Nepal managed to beat India in the group game. I think this win will definitely help the boys gain the confidence needed for the semifinal against Pakistan,” Ehsanul told The Daily Star over phone yesterday.
Openers Pinak and Naim Sheikh handed Bangladesh a flying start, adding 82 runs for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed for 38 off 44 balls featuring three fours and two sixes.
Shortly after, skipper Saif Hassan was sent packing for 16 but Towhid Hridoy and Pinak crafted a match-winning unbeaten partnership of 83 for the third wicket. Towhid then put the bow on the win by hitting a boundary for the winning runs.
Left-hander Pinak, long touted as a face for the future but a batsman who was struggling for runs of late, faced 77 balls for his 81 which included six fours and three sixes, while Towhid finished on 48 off 32 with four sixes and two fours.
Not all the credit, however, should go to the batsmen as earlier, the bowlers managed to pick wickets at regular intervals and prevent India from reaching a significant score. No Indian batsmen reached a fifty as Salman Khan top-scored with an unbeaten 39. Bangladesh off-spinner Robiul Haque scalped three wickets for 43 runs during his six overs while both Nayeem Hasan and Afif Hossain took two apiece.
On Friday Nepal will face Afghanistan in the second semifinal.
SCORES IN BRIEF
INDIA U-19s: 187 for 8 in 32 overs (Anuj 34, Riyan 19, Harvik 21,Salman 39 not out, Shiva 17; Nayeen 2-38, Robiul 3-43, Afif 2-38)
BANGLADESH U-19s: 191 for 2 in 28 overs (Pinak 81 not out, Naim 38, Towhid 48 not out, Mandeep 2-36)
Result: Bangladesh U-19s won by eight wickets.