U-19 World Cup 2024: India colts off to a flyer

India emerged victorious against Bangladesh in their first game of the World Cup. (Source: BCCI)

India started their U-19 World Cup campaign with a bang, outplaying Bangladesh and registering a comprehensive 84-run victory at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Saturday. 

Riding on half-centuries from Adarsh Singh and skipper Uday Saharan, India posted 251/7, a big total at this venue. In reply, Bangladesh was skittled out for 167, courtesy Saumy Pandey’s four-fer.

India encountered a challenging start as Bangladesh’s seamers applied pressure, securing two early wickets. Arshin Kulkarni, in pursuit of quick runs, fell prey to the opposition’s tactics. Musheer Khan, coming at No. 3, aimed to dominate but struggled to gain momentum and was dismissed chasing a wide delivery. Both top-order batsmen succumbed to the left-arm pace of Maruf Mridha. 

Maruf, along with Mohammad Iqbal Hasan Emon, displayed impressive swing and seam bowling, limiting India to 31/2 in the first eight overs. They were very well backed by their fielders.

The need for innings reconstruction became imperative. Adarsh anchored the innings, receiving valuable support from Saharan, who adopted a positive approach. The duo navigated the initial period cautiously, effectively rotating the strike. From the 20th over onwards, they accelerated. Despite Bangladesh introducing spinners, they couldn’t sustain the pressure created by their pacers.

The partnership between Adarsh and Saharan flourished, with both batters smoothly rotating the strike. Adarsh reached his fifty. The Bangladesh players looked visibly frustrated with the partnership, which gave rise to an on-field altercation between Saharan and Bangladesh bowler Ariful Islam.

Upon the reintroduction of seam bowling, Adarsh mistimed a shot and was caught at mid-on in the 32nd over by Rizwan Chowdhury. This concluded their 116-run partnership. Subsequently, Priyanshu Moliya and Saharan struggled to gain momentum, with the pressure on the Indian skipper prompting him to throw his wicket away to Bangladesh skipper Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby.

In the final 10 overs, the scoring rate increased, with contributions from Priyanshu, Aravelly Avanish and Sachin Dhas. After a dry spell of boundaries for almost 10 overs, Avanish broke the shackles with a couple of fours before getting caught in the deep for a quickfire 24. The responsibility then fell on Priyanshu and Sachin Dhas.

Maruf, who had earlier struck twice with the new ball, added three more wickets to his tally in the last 10 overs, finishing with figures of 5/43 in 8 overs. 

Chasing a target of 252, Bangladesh had a good start with openers Ashiqur Rahman Shibli and Jishan Alam showing promise at the crease. The Indian bowlers initially struggled with the new ball. Raj Limbani ended the 38-run partnership by dismissing Alam for 14. Saumy was brought into the attack in the first Powerplay and responded by claiming the wicket of Chowdhury Md Rizwan. The left-arm spinner then dismissed Ashiquri. Arshin added to Bangladesh’s woes by dismissing Ahrar Amin (5) in the 15th over, leaving them reeling at 50/4.

Ariful Islam and Mohammad Shihab James then worked on building a partnership, contributing 77 runs before Islam’s dismissal for 41. James continued to anchor the innings and reached his fifty. However, the lack of support at the other end led to a slide. Despite James top-scoring with 54, his team was eventually bowled out for 167 in 45.5 overs. India sort of avenged their defeat in the last year’s U-19 Asia Cup. 

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