An agonising five-run defeat to their Indian counterparts in the final denied Bangladesh Under-19 their first ever Under-19s Asia Cup title at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
As has been the case for the senior side, it was India who crushed the young Tigers’ hopes in the final of a major tournament. Bangladesh came within six runs of victory before being bowled out in the 33rd over in chase of India’s 106-run total.
Moreover, the dismissal of Tanzim Hasan Sakib will surely add to the woes of the young Tigers and their fans.
Requiring just six off 106 balls with two wickets in hand, Tanzim -- who was on 12 from 34 balls -- was adjudged LBW off an Atharva Ankolekar delivery in the 33rd over.
That wicket courted a lot of controversy as replays clearly showed that there was a huge inside edge. After that, number eleven Shahin Alam could only survive three deliveries before falling in the same over, sparking frenetic celebrations from the India, who clinched their seventh U-19 Asia Cup title.
Bangladesh had started the game very brightly after being asked to bowl, cornering India and sending back three of their top-order batsmen for just eight runs inside six overs. India could not really recover from the early slump but a 57-ball 33 from skipper Dhruv Jurel and Karan Lal’s 43-ball 37 helped them post 106 before being bowled out in 32.4 overs. Shamim Hossain finished with incredible figures of eight runs in exchange for three wickets in six overs. Mrittunjoy Chowdhury also scaped three, giving away 18 runs in 7.4 overs.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief selector Habibul Bashar thought that it was the unnecessary pressure of chasing a small total that got the better of the young guns.
“We bowled really well. It was a big chance that we missed. Maybe the batsmen took some pressure after the bowlers had restricted them [India] to a small score. India’s fast bowling was good but there should not be any excuse for losing a game where you had to chase a total as small as this,” Bashar told The Daily Star yesterday.
Bangladesh have been criticised for making pitches suited to their strengths, i.e. spinning tracks, at home and while that may have led to success at times, the mentality has also acted as a barrier in getting quality pacers in the pipeline. That in turn has led to the batsmens’ lack of expertise in dealing with quicker bowlers in foreign conditions. It was also evident in yesterday’s game when Bangladesh lost wickets to the likes of quicks Akash Singh and Vidyadhar Patil early in the innings.
Bashar also spoke of importance of playing more on sporting wickets to get quality players. But still the question remains: how long do we need before being a side that can negotiate pace well and converting such small margins of defeat to victories?
“We need sporting wicket to get good batsmen and good bowlers. Both bowlers, be they pacers or spinners, and batsmen need to be technically sound. And only good sporting wickets can ensure that. We have been on the right track [making sporting wickets] for the last two years now and we just need to stick to that and wait a bit more to get results in the future,” concluded Bashar.