Under-19 World Cup: Bangladesh's rise a blessing for world cricket
The Bangladesh Under-19s were the first team to reach South Africa, a month before the ICC Under-19 World Cup, well before any other team reached. They stuck to the same group of players for the last two years. That group wrote history on Sunday.
Despite hosting the Under-19 World Cup twice, Bangladesh had never won it. They set the record straight in emphatic fashion in the final against India.
Their 3-wicket win via the DLS method in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020 final against India at the Senwes park in Potchefstroom was the first time ever that the team was crowned World Champions in cricket at any level.
Bangladesh were part of Group C in the league stage alongside Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Scotland. They finished atop their group after the league stage, winning two of their three matches while another was washed out. The team finished with five points and a dominant net run rate of + 5.008. The junior Tigers then beat South Africa by 104 runs in Super League quarter-final 3 and New Zealand by 6 wickets in Super League semi-final 2.While the victory of the Bangladesh Under-19s may seem a bolt out of the blue to many, it was for from that. In fact, the team was the second-most successful Under-19 unit, just behind India, since the last edition of the tournament, with 18 wins from 30 matches and a win-loss ratio of 2.25.
On an individual front, four of their batsmen were part of the the top 10 run-scorers list in youth ODIs since the last Under-19 World Cup. Towhid Hridoy had a batting average of over 60 since the last edition with four centuries and seven half-centuries. Tanzid Hasan, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Akbar Ali had scored 18 half-centuries between them in this period.
Their bowlers were even more dominant with five of them finding a place among the top 10 wicket-takers since the last Under-19 World Cup. Shoriful Islam was the highest wicket taker in youth ODIs since the Under-19 World Cup 2018 with 35 wickets from 22 innings at a bowling average of 27.4 and an economy of under five.
At the second place was his compatriot Mrittunjoy Chowdhury who picked up 34 wickets from 20 innings at 20.17. Tanzim Hasan Sakib occupied the third place while Rakibul Hasan, who was their most successful bowler in the tournament, was at the fifth spot. A couple of notches below him was Shamim Hossain.
These very players replicated their success in this edition of the Under-19 World Cup as well with Mahmudul Hasan Joy finishing as the team's top scorer at an average of 46. Parvez Hussain Emon also made crucial contributions.
However, the suit that won them the title was actually their bowling. Spinner Rakibul Hasan stood out for them with 12 wickets from just five innings at an economy of just around 3 and best match figures of 5/19. It was he who provided Bangladesh a crucial breakthrough in the final in the form of Indian skipper Priyam Garg.
Shoriful Islam, who broke the back of the Indian batting line-up by dismissing opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, finished as their second-most successful bowler with 9 wickets from five matches at 15.77 and an economy of 3.64.
With teams like South Africa and Pakistan not performing to their potential, it is essential for world cricket that other teams step up. Bangladesh have shown that they have that potential and given the right infrastructure and coaching, the team can do its bit to fill the void in international cricket.
Bangladesh's highlights of the tournament:
Akbar Ali (Bangladesh captain and Player of the Match): It's like a dream coming true. It's all about the hard work that we put in the last two years. I can't thank the coaching staff enough for the support both on and off the field. It's purely hard work. Some of our players were emotional and were pumped up. What happened after the game was unfortunate. I would like to congratulate India, they have been brilliant throughout the tournament. A big thanks to all our supporters. It's been a very good experience for us, it's just a beginning for us. Hope it can be a stepping stone for our future cricketers.
Rakibul Hasan (Top wicket-taker): I am feeling fantastic. We had come here to prove something and we were able to do that. It is an unbelievable feeling. The experience was very good. We had plans and worked hard for over a year now. The main thing was to execute our plans and not look at the opposition.
Highest run-scorer - Mahmudul Hasan Joy
Runs - 184
Innings - 6
Average - 46.00
Best - 100
Highest wicket-taker - Rakibul Hasan
Wickets - 12
Innings - 5
Average - 5/19
Best - 10.16
Man of the Match in Final - Akbar Ali
Runs - 43
Balls - 77
Fours - 4
Sixes - 1
ICC Under 19 World Cup 2020 Squad- Parvez Hossain Emon, Tanzid Hasan, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Towhid Hridoy, Shahadat Hossain, Akbar Ali (c & wk), Avishek Das, Shamim Hossain, Rakibul Hasan, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Prantik Nawrose Nabil, Shahin Alam, Mrittunjoy Chowdhury, Hasan Murad
©Cricket World 2020