Asia Cup: Tournament where U19 World Cup winners stepped up
Ever since Bangladesh won the 2020 Under-19 World Cup in South Africa, it was expected that a pool of players from that World Cup-winning batch would one day come through for the national side. The consensus was that it would happen sooner rather than later, given the youthful exuberance portrayed by that group of players in that tournament.
Pacer Shoriful Islam, who was the strike bowler for that Under-19 side, has already established himself as a regular in the current pace bowling unit of the national side.
Shoriful continued to prove his mettle in this Asia Cup as well and certainly did more than just the seven wickets in four games he has to show for in the continental championship. The only time he failed to give the Tigers a breakthrough with the new ball was against Pakistan in Lahore where he bowled only two overs in the Powerplay.
Shoriful's age-level teammate Towhid Hridoy has now turned into a pivotal part of the Tigers' middle order. Hridoy's ODI credentials of 41.33 average in just 14 games speak for itself but what made Hriody a standout throughout the Asia Cup is how he bounced back from underperforming in the first three games with scores of 20, 0, and 2 to scoring two crucial half-centuries against Sri Lanka and India at the business end of the tournament.
Hridoy's 97-ball 82 had kept the Tigers in the game against Sri Lanka while his 54-run knock during a 101-run fifth-wicket stand with skipper Shakib Al Hasan laid the platform against India in Colombo yesterday. "Towhid Hridoy: Bangladesh's new Mr.Dependable" is how India Today, a weekly Indian magazine, described the youngster, and it surely shows that the 22-year-old has now caught the eyes of many through this Asia Cup.
The other star performer for Bangladesh was Tanzim Hasan Sakib, another pacer from that batch of Under-19 squad who broke into the national side. How many bowlers can boast claiming the wicket of Rohit Sharma, one of the deadliest white-ball cricketers, on his debut? Sakib did it yesterday, claiming the wicket of the Indian skipper with just the second delivery of his international career.
The 20-year-old pacer followed it up by bamboozling Tilak Verma, someone whose wicket he had claimed more than three years back during the Under-19 World Cup final in Potchefstroom.
Aside from giving the Tigers the much-needed breakthroughs early in the innings, Sakib also provided the finishing touches when he bowled three dots on the trot in a crucial final over during the Tigers' six-run win against India yesterday.
However, underperforming in the Asia Cup were two other players from the same batch of Under-19 side as the aforementioned players -- Tanzid Hasan Tamim and Shamim Hossain.
Tanzid Hasan Tamim was given the opportunity to open the innings for the second time yesterday, and the 22-year-old looked positive until he dragged one onto his stumps after a 12-ball 13. But surely the left-hander gave some glimpses of what he could offer, provided ample grooming and opportunities.
Shamim, meanwhile, disappointed the most from the ones among the lot. The left-hander has already played 17 T20Is before making his ODI debut in the game against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. Unfortunately, the only thing the player can boast about is the 'no-look six' he began his ODI career with against the Afghans.