A methodical performance from the U-19s secured a final berth at the ICC U-19 World Cup for Bangladesh. The team made history by not only becoming the first-ever U-19 Bangladesh side to make it to the final but also becoming the first side from any level in Bangladesh to make it to the final of an ICC event.
A mature performance delivered at the right time was further substantiated by the cool innings from Mahmudul Hasan, who took Bangladesh to the doorstep of victory with a sublime 127-ball ton, laced with 13 fours. He played the drives, the cuts and the pulls to good effect but it was the pace of the innings that meant the young Tigers never lost control of the match in chase of New Zealand’s 211 for eight. The two partnerships he featured in took Bangladesh home.
He found the singles as well in a wicket that was not easy for batsmen, pronounced by the hard work it took for the Kiwis to cross 200-run mark. Bangladesh then lost openers Tanzid Hasan Tamim and Parvez Hossain Emon in quick succession. Mahmdul and Towhid Hridoy then stabilised the innings with singles and odd boundaries with a 68-run partnership for the third wicket.
Towhid left after a 47-ball 40 and then Mahmudul and Shahdat Hossain starred in a 101-run partnership.
Mahmudul struck a boundary to complete his ton with the Tigers on the brink of victory. He departed next delivery but the job was done. He maintained that it was his role to stay at the wicket till the end.
“I thought I would bat till the end and rotate the strike. My role is to rotate strike for the team and bat till the end, and after the early two wickets, that is what I tried to do. During the last New Zealand series, I got one score in the 90s and made a mistake and got out, but I wanted to set it right today. I feel good. Thanks to Allah, our support staff, and all the supporters for today.”
It was an all-round performance after the bowlers had done a superb job to restrict New Zealand to a middling score, maintain tight line and length. Pacers Shoriful Islam and Tanzim Hasan Sakib got the ball to move and bounce, with the former picking up three wickets. The spinners kept the pressure up with Rakibul Hasan, Shamim Hossain and Hasan Murad amongst the wickets. Bangladesh skipper Akbar Ali congratulated the bowlers and reiterated the importance of partnerships to go through.
“Our bowlers did really well, and then our batsmen needed to have a big partnership up front. We were able to do that. Our three spinners are bowling really well. We had specific plans against New Zealand. We had played them away recently, and we needed to bowl to our plans. The way they [Joy and Hridoy] batted was exceptional. They work really hard, and it’s commendable,” he said.
“It’s all about discipline. We plan accordingly and we played so many U-19 games. Before the World Cup, they played 30-plus games and that’s very good for the boys. They have experience playing other nations such as England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka back home. We have a good management group. We didn’t chop and change too many things. These are the 15 or 18 players who have played over the last two years. This is the most mature side ever in Bangladesh’s U-19 level. We have been thinking of how to play better cricket in the World Cup and our work has paid dividends,” Khaled Mahmud said.
SCORES IN BRIEF
New Zealand U-19s: 211 for 8 in 50 overs (White 18, Lellman 24, Lidstone 44, Wheeler-Greenall 75 not out; Shoriful 3-45, Shamim 2-31, Murad 2-10)
Bangladesh U-19s: 215 for 4 in 44.1 overs (Mahmudul 100, Towhid 40, Shahadat 40 not out; Clarke 1-37, Hancock 1-31)
Result: Bangladesh U-19s won by 6 wickets.
Player-of-the-match: Mahmudul Hasan Joy.