Young Tigers become World Champions

The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 will take place between 17 January and 9 February 2020 in South Africa. Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe are automatic qualifiers and have been joined by five regional qualifiers Canada, Japan, Nigeria, Scotland and the UAE.

It was the thirteenth edition of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, and the second to be held in South Africa. Sixteen teams took part in the tournament, split into four groups of four. The top two teams from each group advanced to the Super League, with the bottom two teams in each group progressing to the Plate League.

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, 9th February 2020.

Bangladesh was 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.

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 fans will be happy to have found talents like Shoriful, Sakib, Rakibul, Mahmudul. They will also be delighted for having something over India in a long time with the defeats of their senior men in the 2015 World Cup final, 2016 World T20, Nidahas Trophy etc.. They will savour this moment. Jaiswal, Tyagi, Bishnoi showcasing immense potential will please the Indian contingent.

By: Editorial Desk

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