No more agony, no more heartbreak against India. The Young Tigers created arguably the most seminal moment in its cricketing history at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom yesterday, ending their wait for a major global trophy. The entire nation was glued to the television sets from the beginning of the much-anticipated final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup to celebrate an occasion and, after all the twists and turns, Akbar Ali’s brigade provided the most momentous victory for the cricket-crazy nation.
A mild drizzle stopped the match when Bangladesh were on 163 for seven in reply to 177 but the rain was not a worry as Bangladesh were already ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern par score by 18 runs. When the match resumed, the Young Tigers required seven runs from 30 balls. After all the drama during Bangladesh’s chase, captain Akbar Ali’s steely resolve brought his side to a memorable three-wicket victory and the entire nation erupted in joy.
Rakibul Hasan hit the winning runs but it was Akbar’s precious unbeaten 43 that gave Bangladesh its first World Cup title and thus the Young Tigers ended a merry run in the global event, lifting the coveted trophy.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” was the instant reaction from Rakibul Hasan, who probably echoed the sentiment of the entire nation.
There were epic scenes after Bangladesh secured their historic global title for the first time in its history. With elated Tigers’ fans dancing all over the stands as a backdrop, the players could not contain themselves. The madness was all around not only at the ground but far from home. Celebrations were jubilant as Bangladesh’s heroes toasted a historic victory with a lap of honour in front of their travelling fans.
India came into the tournament as defending champions and went through the entire campaign unbeaten before running into a spirited Bangladesh side, who proved themselves far ahead of their earlier generations.
Coming into the final as an undefeated team, the Akbar-led side proved in the end that the better team won the title as they were stupendous in all departments in the nerve-wracking final and showed a strength of character that no other Bangladesh youth team – and they have been a not unformidable bunch -- could match.
If morning shows the day, then Bangladesh’s fiery and meticulous pace bowling did just that for the Young Tigers, who put the mighty Indians on the back foot. In what was their first final in the competition’s 22-year history, the Young Tigers were far from cowed by the occasion, limiting India to just 177 with the bat despite Yashasvi Jaiswal’s mature 88.
The fans however had to go through nervy moments and fear was widespread about whether another heartbreak against India was in store – till yesterday the junior team had emulated their seniors in crumbling to frustrating losses against India, including failing to chase just 106 by just five runs in last year’s U-19 Asia Cup final. India leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi bamboozled the Bangladesh batsmen with one googly after another. Bishnoi did his utmost to halt Bangladesh’s progress as Tanzid Hasan (17), Mahmudul Hasan Joy (8), Towhid Hridoy (0) and Shahadat Hossain (1) succumbed to his wrist-spin mastery and Bangladesh were reduced to 65 for four. The subsequent departures of Shamim Hossain and Avishek Das saw Bangladesh tottering at 102 for six.
Captain Akbar however reserved his best for last as he along with Parvez Hossain Emon, who returned to the crease after suffering an injury, shared 41 runs for the seventh-wicket stand to keep hopes alive and then reached the finishing line with Rakibul Hasan.
Bangladesh earlier completed a nearly perfect bowling and fielding performance by getting their mighty Indian counterparts all out for 177 in the exciting final.
The pace pair of Shoriful Islam and Tanzim Hasan Sakib started the ICC Under-19 World Cup final in Potchefstroom with fire that gave the team early momentum. Pacer Avishek Das reaped the rewards of their early fire and then the spinners held their nerves when the Indian batsmen weathered the early storm. Avishek Das (three for 40) and Tanzim Hasan Sakib (two for 28) picked up crucial wickets for Bangladesh.
The fielding was absolutely electric.
Yashasvi Jaiswal continued his good form with an 88-run innings but it was not good enough to set a challenging total.
In reply, Parvez Hossain and Tanzid Hasan made a flying start, sharing 50 runs for the opening wicket but leg-spinner Bishnoi rattled the Bangladesh batting by taking four wickets in quick succession to bring anxiety among the fans. Bangladesh lost wickets on a regular interval with Parvez Hossain Emon (47 off 79 balls with seven boundaries) and captain Akbar keeping the innings calm as they crossed the winning line for a memorable victory.
Despite facing adversity at 102 for six, Akbar was not ready to fold. Instead, their togetherness, their hard work and all the trials and tribulations of the past two years was given a sweet ending, one made infinitely sweeter with the World Cup in hand.