Bangladesh skipper Akbar Ali scripted a memorable chase in the finals of the ICC U-19 world cup, leading his team to a scintillating 3 wicket win over the defending champions, India and claiming their maiden U-19 World title.
Chasing a paltry target of 178, Bangladesh at one point were struggling at 102-6 before Emon, who had retired owing to groin injury, stitched an invaluable 41 run stand with Akbar Ali, dragging his team to a position of safety.
A brief interruption due to rain saw the target being revised to 170 in 46 which Bangladesh knocked off within 7 balls post resumption.
As it happened
Put into bat, India got off to a poor start, losing Divyansh Saxena in the seventh over for a 17 ball 2. Post that, Yashasvi Jaiswal along with Tilak Verma stitched a crucial 94 run stand for the second wicket, laying a solid platform for the middle order.
Bangladesh bowlers bowled with a lot of discipline and kept the run rate in check. At 156-3 in the 40th over, just as when India were looking to up the ante, Shoriful got the better of the set Yashasvi Jaiswal, opening the flood gates for Bangladesh.
They picked up last seven wickets for 21 and eventually bowled India out for a modest 177. Chasing 178, Bangladesh got off to a flier, bringing up the fifty in the 9th over. From 50-0 to 65-4, the introduction of Ravi Bishnoi saw the game turn on its head in favour of India.
He bowled the spell of his life and soon reduced Bangladesh 102-6. With the target still 76 runs away, Emon returned to stitch a 41 run stand with Akbar Ali to take Bangladesh close to the target.
India did manage to pick up Emon but Akbar kept his calm and took Bangladesh home.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ravi Bishnoi stand out for India, Akbar Ali for Bangladesh
For India, Yashasvi Jaiswal continued his dominant run in the tournament and stroked a brilliant 88 of 121 deliveries to end the tournament as the leading run scorer with 400 runs at an average of 13.33.
He got good support from Tilak Verma who stroked his way to a fighting 38 but the man who got India back into the match was Ravi Bishnoi.
Bishnoi bowled the spell of his life and was too hot to handle for the Bangladesh batsmen, ending the match with 4-30 in his 10 overs. Bangladesh on the other hand should seek inspiration from their skipper Akbar Ali who kept his calm, held his nerve and took his team over the line.
What went wrong for India?
India must accept the fact that Bangladesh were the better side on the day. They bowled with discipline and showed more maturity than the defending champions. India gave away 33 extras, far too many in a chase of 178. Moreover, their pacers were off colour too.
Apart from Bishnoi, none of the bowlers looked threatening even to take a wicket. Same was the case with their batting. Jaiswal once again was outstanding for them but needed support from other players too. Two individual performance can’t win a crunch and crucial game like a World cup final.
Bright future ahead for Bangladesh
India has always been a force in U-19 cricket but this tournament was about Bangladesh. They’ve been terrific with bat, bowl and in the field and looked a team to beat throughout the tournament.
Players like Shoriful, Shakib, Rakibul, Mahmudul and Akbar Ali have performed tremendously well for them and looked promising to represent the main team in the future.
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