U19s open World Cup with fighting loss against Bangladesh
Some disciplined bowling and batting in tricky conditions allowed Bangladesh to cruise home against a stubborn opposition.
At the halfway stage, having restricted Bangladesh to 264/8, Canada appeared well in the game, a fact they acknowledged with passionate celebrations at the fall of each Bangladesh wicket, but they were left to rue a middle-overs crawl which saw the required rate spiral, and they were unable to catch up in the death overs.
Bangladesh had Towhid Hridoy to thank for posting their total, after enduring a testing period at the start of the game. Canada won the toss and chose to field and soon claimed the wicket of Pinak Ghosh, who slashed to point on nought. That brought captain Saif Hassan to the crease, fresh from a 48-ball 84 against Namibia, and he initially looked set to repeat the treatment, taking 12 off a Faisal Jamkhandi over. But the Canadian quick would get his revenge in his very next over, also caught at point, and at 29/2 Bangladesh were struggling.
A partial recovery came from opener Mohammed Naim Sheikh and Towhid Hridoy who added 62, but the pair rarely looked settled, especially Naim, who often skied the ball into the swirling winds only to see it fall safe. They were kept quiet by windmilling off-spinner Rommel Shahzad, who didn’t concede a boundary in his first five overs, and then took the wicket of Naim three balls after being struck to the rope for the first time. He was the third Bangladeshi to be caught by Aran Pathmanathan at point and his departure brought Afif Hossain to the crease, the left-hander immediately looking more assured.
He smashed Bangladesh’s first six of the innings over cow corner and generally looked to score, encouraging his partner to do the same. As their partnership ticked upwards the boundaries flowed more freely – five in five overs at one stage – and with him at the crease 280 was on the cards.
It was Rishiv Joshi who struck the key blow, nailing his yorker and sneaking under Afif’s bat, and a period of relative calm followed as Hridoy edged towards his hundred. It wasn’t a fluent innings – he had just six boundaries to his name when he reached the landmark – but some hard running kept his strike-rate acceptable, and after reaching the landmark he took off, smashing a further three fours and a six before being caught on the last ball of the innings.
That dismissal gave Jamkhandi a well-deserved five-wicket haul. He almost had a hat-trick, striking with the first two balls of the 50th over, but Hridoy smashed the next ball to the fence. It was a passage of thrust and counter-thrust that typified the innings.
That to-and-fro was sadly mostly absent from most of Canada’s innings, as Bangladesh applied the squeeze to crush their hopes. The key period came between overs 6 and 21, when not a single boundary was scored, and while Canada may have felt they were setting a platform, they will surely reflect that they got the balance wrong.
Still, tournaments like this are at least partly for learning, and this will prove a useful for that purpose; there is certainly plenty of raw material. Their captain Arslan Khan led the way, top scoring with a 108-ball 63, and several starts showed Canada could compete.
Perhaps they just came up against superior and more experienced opposition. Hridoy’s innings was a very mature one, while Afif Hossain bowled with accuracy and guile, displaying all the attributes which allowed him to become the youngest bowler to take a T20 five-for as he added an U19 CWC five-wicket haul to his trophy cabinet.
It’s a performance with which Bangladesh can be very pleased. Barring a specific set of results, they are set to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup. On this evidence, they could go much further.
Canadian manager Wijay Senathirajah commented after the match that there were many positive aspects of the team’s performance, despite the loss, and they are looking forward to their next match.
Scorecard, statistics and video