|| CF Correspondent ||
A never-say-die Bangladesh came up with a stellar performance to defy the odds and beat mighty India by three wickets through D/L method in the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup to lift the coveted trophy for the first time at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom, South Africa on Sunday.
Under tremendous pressure, skipper Akbar Ali held the never immaculately to help the side reach the victory mark in 42.1 overs after Bangladesh was set 170 to lift the title in 46 overs following a rain interruption that halted the game for some 10 minutes.
Before then they bowled India out for 177 in 47.2 overs.
This was the first time that they played the final of the World Cup but made it remarkable by beating the four-time champions India, a team who earlier beat them in two finals in the tri-nation tournament in England and Asia Cup.
But on the day when it mattered most, Bangladesh held their nerve to deny the Indians for the most prized trophy.
As the things went out of control after India reduced Bangladesh to 102-6, Akbar got a courageous Parvez Hossain Emon to his company. Emon who suffered an injury and retired hurt on 25 came back at this phase and played through the enormous injury for a second fiddle to his captain.
They shared a crucial 37-run for the seventh wicket stand to take Bangladesh on the verge of the victory. Emon was finally dismissed for 47, leaving Bangladesh 35 runs away to the victory.
But Akbar refused to give up as he dealt the Indian bowlers in astute fashion and at the same time held his nerve impeccably to help the side sail the home. He got Rakibul Hasan to his company, who resisted Indian bowlers showing steely resolve to make a precious 9 not out off 25.
Bangladesh, however, got off to a fluent start as Tanzid Hasan Tamim (17) and Parvez Hossain Emon combined for a 50-run, indicating to make it one-way traffic.
As things looked easier for Bangladesh, Indian leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi brought them down to the earth, making Bangladesh four down for 65 from 50 for no loss.
Shushant Mishra then joined the party and dealt a double strike, dismissing Shamim Hossain and Avishek Das, forcing Emon to take the guard again. But his bold decision to come to the ground paid rich dividends.
The drama unfolded when rain interrupted the proceedings of the game with Bangladesh at 163-7 in 41 overs.
However, Bangladesh was ahead of D/L calculation but needed not the mercy of rain to clinch the trophy. As the rain stopped, Bangladesh got a revised target of victory for 170, which meant that they needed 7 for 5 overs. Akbar Ali defied further scare to proudly lead the side to the victory. He struck six fours and one six in his 77 ball-43 not out.
Bishnoi ended with 4-30 while Mishra had figures of 2-19.
Bangladesh Under-19 bowlers came up with ruthless bowling performance earlier to restrict mighty India to the paltry total after Akbar Ali opted to bowl first in a slow-paced wicket.
Despite a huge resistance from Yashasvi Jaiswal, Bangladesh held their nerve and wrecked havoc on India batting that saw them claiming the last seven wickets for just 21 runs.
Bangladesh’s three-pronged pacer shared seven wickets among them to make the most damage to Indian batting line up and backed up well by some electrifying fielding from the fielders.
Avishek Das led the way in bowling with 3-40 in nine overs, which was complemented by two wickets apiece by Shoriful Islam and Tanzim Hasan Shakib. Left-arm spinner Rakibul Hasan took 1-29 in a measly bowling effort.
Indian opener Yashasvi Jaiswal battled lonely for the side and made a fabulous 88 off 121, hitting 11 fours and one six. Tilak Verma was the other notable contributor with 38.
When Bangladeshi new ball bowler Shoriful and Tanzim Hasan moved the ball admirably, Jaiswal who struck a century in the semifinal game against Pakistan, resisted them with utmost confidence.
However, their tight bowling enabled India to make just 23 runs in the first 10 overs for one wicket. But as time progresses, Jaiswal became more threatening. Shoriful came back in the second spell to claim the big wicket of Jaiswal to spark a sensational collapse that saw India losing seven wickets for only 21 runs, which became the eventual difference at the end.