Feb 232016
India v Bangladesh, Asia Cup, Dhaka February 23, 2016

Mashrafe Mortaza on Mustafizur Rahman: "He believes in his variations, not what the batsman will do with them." © AFP

Mustafizur Rahman became the toast of Bangladesh last season when he took India down, becoming only the second bowler to take five-wicket hauls in his first two ODIs. His remarkable run in 2015 even led to a place in the ICC's ODI team of the year.

On the day before Bangladesh's clash against India, Virat Kohli credited Mustafizur, saying that he "spiced the game up" with his pace as well as cutters.

"Mustafizur has done really well in the past one year," Kohli said. "Since he played against us, he has bowled well for Bangladesh. It was exciting to see a 19-year old bowling slower balls and touching 140 clicks. He came on board and did really well. It was different for us as well to experience. He was bowling slower balls and cutters with the new ball. He spiced the game up a bit more, which is always exciting.

"Look at Kagiso Rabada for South Africa, he is a very exciting bowler. So it is very good for the game when you have bowlers coming in and making life difficult for the batsmen. If you are playing in conditions like in Bangladesh and a guy can come in and take four-five wickets and trouble the batsmen all over, it makes the game more competitive."

Mustafizur, though, is shy and hardly likes the attention trained on him. Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza identified Mustafizur's ability to shut out all the attention and pressure as his major strength.

"Mustafizur doesn't really have a clue about all of this attention," Mortaza said. "And I am sure that even if he notices these things, he doesn't spend too much time thinking about it. I think it is something he was born with, that he doesn't really take pressure upon himself.

"He is always confident. He can deliver the slower ball, which we call cutter, in various ways. He doesn't think about an opposition or a particular batsman before a game. He thinks about his own performance mainly.

Mashrafe also warned that doing "homework" on Mustafizur might backfire. "He believes in his variations, not what the batsman will do with them," Mashrafe said. "This mindset keeps him ahead, makes him win the battles. If you try to do homework on him, it will still be difficult to face him."

Mustafizur, however, will have to prove his fitness first, having missed the last two T20s against Zimbabwe last month because of a shoulder injury, which has apparently been connected to delivering one of his slower balls. The injury had forced Mustafizur out of the Pakistan Super League as well.

Mashrafe was wary of India's batting and called for a collective bowling performance to ease the burden off Mustafizur. Bangladesh's success against India last year was built on pace, and this time, too, they have a well-stacked pace attack; the likes of Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain and Abu Hider will assist Mashrafe and Mustafizur.

"Everyone else have to help Mustafizur because the India batting line-up is a tough one," Mashrafe said. We have to make fewer mistakes as a bowling unit to do well in this game."

Even Kohli felt Mustafizur would be crucial to Bangladesh's chances in the tournament. "As a batsman also, you feel okay, this guy [Mustafizur] has got a different set of skills, and you've got to prepare differently, tackle him differently," Kohli said. "So you improve your game. He is obviously going to be a big factor for Bangladesh in this tournament."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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Feb 232016
India-Bangladesh soap opera set for new season
India v Bangladesh, Asia Cup, Dhaka February 23, 2016

Match facts

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1330 GMT)

Play 02:47

‘Every team member knows what needs to be done’ – Kohli

Big Picture

It was all telenovela in 2015. MS Dhoni as the hero who had gone on to be perceived as villain. “If I am the reason for all the bad that is happening to Indian cricket, definitely I would love to step away.” R Ashwin was the steadfast sidekick. “If my captain asks me to die on the field, I’ll do it.” And Mustafizur Rahman was the shy, rising star; he had become a world-record holder after playing two ODIs and you could barely get two words out of him. All he would do was flash that big, toothy grin and say he was happy to perform for the team. There is no sign of a resumption of the ad wars, but the rest of the protagonists are back for season two, with the added twist of an Asia Cup and World T20 implications.

Bangladesh’s limited-overs team has maintained their Mirpur stronghold jealously since failing to chase 106 against India in 2014. They have played 19 matches and won 14 of them. The trouble is, out of those five losses, three have come in T20Is. With their one-day cricket in prime order, the coach Chandika Hathurusingha has been concentrating on building skills that are vital to success in the shortest format. The team goes into the Asia Cup after a couple of camps in Khulna and Chittagong.

India are not light on preparation either. They have been playing T20 cricket since the start of the year (the carnival continues through to May with the IPL) and are quite certain of their first XI. The only issue might be is some of the players in that XI have not had enough match practice. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and the returning Virat Kohli have been merciless in their plunder of runs that the middle order has not had much to do. Over six matches, Yuvraj Singh has faced only 26 balls and rookie allrounder Hardik Pandya 18. India do not seem to be worried though, as both Dhoni and Kohli have said their players are well tuned to T20 cricket thanks to the IPL.

Form Guide

(last five completed matches)

Bangladesh LLWWL

Watch out for

Yuvraj Singh signs in at the dotted line under returning old favourites. Fifteen years since his international debut, he is still madly sought after. The last three IPL auctions have netted him a whopping Rs 37 crores. At the team hotel in Dhaka, he was spirited aside by a few players from the Oman team to take some pictures and share some secrets. It is unlikely that anyone will ever forget what happened the last time he was in these parts, but with a Sri Lanka rematch and a clash with Pakistan around the corner, maybe he has the opportunity to do something about that.

Mahmudullah signs in at the dotted line under captain’s understudy. He is seen as an option to take over Bangladesh after Mashrafe Mortaza having led Barisal Bulls, a team sans any big names, into the final of the Bangladesh Premier League. But he is not seen as the best fit for T20s. He tends to be grilled about his strike-rate a lot and when the question was put forward this time, he quipped that he will try to hit the first ball he faces in the Asia Cup for six.

Team news

Dhoni returned fitter and leaner after a rare break from international cricket just before the Australia tour in January, but an onset of back spasms two days out from India’s first match of the Asia Cup and three weeks out from their first match of the World T20. The team manager said he was recovering well and will be assessed before the match. If he is not fit, Parthiv Patel, who last played for India in 2012, has arrived as back-up. But if Parthiv is brought in, will he fit in the middle order or at the top where he’s had most of his success in domestic limited-overs cricket?

India (probable): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk)/ Parthiv Patel, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Ashish Nehra

Coach Chandika Hathurusingha was impressed by Mohammad Mithun in the Chittagong camp, so he could get a first look in ahead of Imrul Kayes. Both Taskin Ahmed and Abu Hider might miss out while Nasir Hossain too could be benched with Nurul Hasan taking wicket-keeping and late-hitting duties.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Soumya Sarkar, 2 Mohammad Mithun, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Arafat Sunny, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Al-Amin Hossain

Pitch and conditions

Mirpur sprung a green pitch on India’s juniors at the Under-19 World Cup and more recently, the final game of the Asia Cup qualifiers played under lights helped the new ball dart around considerably. If the early phase is seen through, however, lots of runs are on offer. There is also the slim possibility of rain playing spoilsport.

Stats and trivia

  • Since 2014, Bangladesh batsman score at 132.33 in the last four overs, which is the worst worst among Full Members. In the Powerplay, Bangladesh batsmen’s strike-rate of 112 is second-worst after Pakistan’s.
  • In T20Is since 2014, India’s No. 5 to No. 7 have averaged just 16.78 – only Hong Kong, Nepal and Papua New Guine have averaged worse.


“As many different teams as we play before the World T20, it gives us an opportunity to assess what the teams are like, what the balance is like, what their strengths and weaknesses are and where we stand against them.”

India batsman Virat Kohli

“We had all our experiments done against Zimbabwe in January. There’s no room for any such experiments in the Asia Cup. This is a very important tournament ahead of the World T20.”

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Feb 222016
Rubel misses out on BCB contract
Bangladesh news February 22, 2016

ESPNcricinfo staff

The BCB’s 2016 list of contracted players includes Mustafizur Rahman but not Rubel Hossain © BCB

Rubel Hossain, who was a key member of Bangadesh’s pace attack during the 2015 World Cup, has been left out of the BCB’s list of contracted players for 2016. Rubel has been troubled by injuries in recent months, and has not played for Bangladesh in any format since July 2015.

Apart from Rubel, the BCB also omitted opening batsman Anamul Haque and fast bowler Shafiul Islam from its list of contracted players.

In place of these three, the BCB awarded contracts to Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman and Mustafizur Rahman. All three have made big strides in international cricket over the past year, with Sarkar and Sabbir establishing themselves as opener and finisher in Bangladesh’s limited-overs batting line-ups and Mustafizur enjoying a dream debut season that culminated in his selection in the ICC ODI team of the year.

List of contracted players for 2016: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taijul Islam, Mashrafe Mortaza, Al-Amin Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman.

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Feb 222016
BCB lifts ban on Nadir Shah
Bangladesh news February 22, 2016

Nadir Shah (third from right) umpired in the USA in 2014, while his ten-year ban was still in place

The BCB has lifted the 10-year ban it had imposed on umpire Nadir Shah in March 2013. Shah had been banned on charges of corruption alleged during a TV sting operation. The decision to revoke the ban was made unanimously by board members during a meeting on Monday.

Shah is now eligible to stand in Bangladesh’s domestic competitions, though it is not clear whether he will resume umpiring in the Bangladesh Cricket League first-class competition or in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League.

“The BCB felt he [Shah] was repentant and had rectified himself in the last couple of years,” BCB media committee chairman Jalal Yunus told ESPNcricinfo. “He wasn’t involved in any financial deals in the TV sting. He is one of our best umpires so as a first step he will be umpiring in domestic cricket.”

Shah said he was happy to be allowed to umpire again. “I am very happy that the BCB has lifted my ban,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting back on the field. I had submitted a mercy petition in the past so I feel happy that it has been taken into consideration.”

Over the last two years, the BCB has discussed Shah’s reinstatement in meetings, but couldn’t arrive at a unanimous decision.

Three months after being banned, Shah submitted a mercy plea to the BCB to reduce the term of his suspension. Exactly 12 months later, he umpired in matches in the USA and three months later, he stood in a domestic T20 match after being told the BCB had lifted the ban, but the board president Nazmul Hassan said a couple of days later that the ban remained in place and Shah had stood due to “miscommunication”.

The sting, conducted in July-August 2012, was broadcast by India TV, which claimed to have “exposed” several first-class umpires from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, who were allegedly willing to give decisions favouring players for a fee. In the sting, the reporters claimed to belong to a sports management company and promised the umpires officiating assignments in events of all kinds around the world, largely in domestic Twenty20 leagues. All three national boards announced investigations following the broadcast. The BCB conducted a detailed investigation into the matter, with two committees formed by subsequent boards of directors.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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Feb 152016
The real challenge starts now, says Miraz
Under-19 World Cup 2016 February 15, 2016

ESPNcricinfo staff

“I’m not just satisfied with success at Under-19 level, want to go up the ladder and give some moments of happiness to my nation.” © ICC

Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Bangladesh Under-19 captain who led the team to a third-place finish, wants to improve his overall skills before he vies for a place in the senior team. Miraz, scored 242 runs in six innings and also picked up 12 wickets at 17.66 to earn the Man of the Tournament award.

“I just ended my career at the Under-19 level and like every other cricketer, I also dream to play at the highest level for my country,” Miraz said. “But this requires perseverance and hard work, and I want to develop myself as a better cricketer in the time I will get to transform myself.

“It is a big achievement for me to win the player-of-the-tournament award; not just for me, but for the whole team and the nation too. Sixteen teams participated in the event and our team came third and among them I got the award. This is actually massive.”

Miraz said that the Bangladesh team could have played the final but for an inspired West Indies side who beat them in the semi-final in Mirpur. Now he wants to move forward quickly and could possibly play for South Zone in the Bangladesh Cricket League first-class tournament.

“We had a great unit too and deserved to win the trophy,” he said. “But a few mistakes cost us the [semi-final] match. We respected the West Indies but we had the confidence in us. We just couldn’t translate it into action.

“I think there were expectations on me because I played well. I will need to hold on to the belief that I can carry myself forward. I am not satisfied with these achievements only. I want to go up the ladder and give some moments of happiness to my nation.”

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Feb 152016
ICC chief satisfied with organisation of U-19 World Cup
Under-19 World Cup 2016 February 15, 2016

David Richardson: ‘Probably more so than any previous event, absolutely no stone was left unturned in providing a secure environment’ © Getty Images

ICC chief executive David Richardson has said that the governing body is satisfied with its decision to carry on with the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh despite Australia pulling out of the tournament due to security reasons.

Richardson said that the security standard from this event will be followed for future ICC tournaments, including the World T20 that will be held in India next month.

“I think we’re very pleased with the fact that we made the decision to carry on with the tournament, despite Australia’s decision to withdraw their team,” Richardson said. “I think the outcomes and the results say that it was the correct decision. We’re certainly looking forward to the World T20 in India coming up. There is no doubt that there will be security challenges there as well. And we learnt a lot from this tournament.

“We’ve set a standard of what we need to deliver, with respect to all events. We’ll make sure that any threat that is received or any threat that is identified, we’ll put in place anything needed to negate it.”

Richardson on age verification at U-19 World Cup

“The trouble is that the medical experts tell you that there is very little we can do to test the age of someone in a reliable fashion. To that extent, we’ve to rely quite heavily on documentation that is available and the honesty and integrity of the player.”

Security was at its tightest in the eight stadiums and team hotels in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and Cox’s Bazar. Teams making their way to the hotels, grounds and airports were accompanied by long convoys of security forces. In Chittagong, the team hotel was barely 50 yards from the MA Aziz Stadium where some of the matches were held alongside many practice sessions. The teams usually walked to the stadium during the Bangladesh Premier League last year but this time they had to travel by bus.

In Dhaka, the team hotel was fortified by security forces and many of the roads were closed in the Mirpur area on match days. The same was the case in Cox’s Bazar. There, the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Complex was under lockdown as soon as the teams entered for training or matches, with only accredited persons allowed; a limited number of fans were allowed for a few matches.

India coach Rahul Dravid had mentioned on Sunday that the security at times was overwhelming, particularly since it meant having to keep Under-19 players in their hotel rooms at all times when they were not training or playing a match. “I think it has been a great tournament, the way it has been organised and conducted. We’ve really enjoyed the cricketing side of things,” Dravid said. “But yes, I must admit that at times security has been a bit overpowering and we’ve had to stay in our hotel a lot.

“It’s not easy for young kids to be stuck in their hotel rooms for 24 days now, so that has been the hard part. But overall, in terms of the cricket and the facilities we’ve got, just the way the tournament has been conducted, it has been superb.”

Richardson admitted that security measures were “over the top” at times, but said it was only to ensure that there would be no complaints or incidents during the tournament. “Certainly, for this event, probably more so than any previous event, absolutely no stone was left unturned in providing a secure environment. We realise this was a massive undertaking, some would say even over the top for the occasion.”

On the consequences of Australia’s pull out, Richardson said: “It’s basically a contractual matter. Whether it results in any damage being suffered by any party, that is to be seen. Another point is, we can’t force a particular country into competing. It’s up to them. As I said, they [any team that pulls out of an ICC tournament] might run the risk of being in breach of a contract, but that’s the decision they need to take.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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Feb 142016
Tamim to miss Asia Cup, Kayes called up as replacement
Asia Cup 2016 February 14, 2016

ESPNcricinfo staff

Bangladesh have drafted opening batsman Imrul Kayes into the squad for the Asia Cup in place of Tamim Iqbal, who has opted out due to the imminent birth of his first child. This is the only change from Bangladesh’s World T20 squad that was announced earlier this month.

Bangladesh Asia Cup squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan

More to follow

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Feb 132016
Bangladesh ace tense chase to secure third place
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Under-19 World Cup, 3rd place playoff February 13, 2016

ESPNcricinfo staff

Bangladesh Under-19s 218 for 7 (Miraz 53, Nazmul 40, Jaker 31*) beat Sri Lanka Under-19s 214 (Asalanka 76, Miraz 3-28, Halim 2-26) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

File photo – Mehedi Hasan Miraz led Bangladesh Under-19s from the front with three top-order wickets and a steady 53 © Getty Images

A knock of 53 from captain Mehedi Hasan Miraz and an unbeaten 31 from Jaker Ali helped Bangladesh Under-19s seal a tense chase of 215 against Sri Lanka Under-19s to secure a third-place finish at the Under-19 World Cup.

Having dismissed Sri Lanka for 214, Bangladesh were progressing steadily during the course of an 88-run third-wicket partnership between Miraz and Nazmul Hossain Shanto. Sri Lanka bowlers had tied down the big shots early in the chase – Bangladesh went 105 balls without a boundary between 8th and 25th over – but the low target meant that the batsmen could rely on singles and keep the equation in check.

Sri Lanka, however, began turning the match around in the 36th over when Miraz was run-out for a 66-ball 53, his fourth successive half-century in the tournament. Two overs later, they lost a well-set Nazmul for 40 in the same fashion. Shafiul Hayet and Mosabbek Hossain consumed 8.1 overs for a partnership of 28 for the sixth wicket and once they fell quickly, Bangladesh were left needing 15 runs off the last two overs.

With the score at 200 for 6, Jaker, who had retired earlier in the innings due to cramps, returned to the crease and hit a crucial four in the penultimate over, playing a lap-scoop off Asitha Fernando to ease some pressure. Bangladesh went into the final over needing four runs and sealed the win off the third ball, through another four from Jaker, this time over midwicket.

Earlier, Sri Lanka lost their way in the middle overs after a promising start and were held together by captain Charith Asalanka‘s 76. Openers Kamindu Mendis and Salindu Ushan, got starts in their 60-run stand, but Miraz dismissed the top three batsmen with his offspin to leave Sri Lanka in trouble at 70 for 3 in the 18th over.

That score turned to 131 for 5 before Asalanka rebuilt in the company of Wanidu Hasaranga; the pair adding 55 runs for the sixth wicket. Once the latter was dismissed however, another collapse ensued and it was only Asalanka’s third fifty of the tournament that pushed the score to 214. Miraz had returns of 3 for 28 and won the Man-of-the-Match award for his all-round performance.

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Feb 112016
'We were 20 runs short' - Miraz
Bangladesh v WI, Under-19 World Cup, semi-final, Mirpur February 11, 2016

Mehedi Hasan Miraz – “We thought if we score 240-250, it would be difficult for any opposition. We were short by 20 runs” © Getty Images

Twice, the captain Mehedi Hasan Miraz got Bangladesh Under-19s back into the semi-final against West Indies Under-19s. But when he came to bowl his last over, with West Indies needing just eight runs off 18 balls, he was tasked with scripting a miracle. There was not to be any, as he gave away one run in his over, took the cap from the umpire and slowly walked towards Mohammad Saifuddin, who eventually conceded the winning runs.

Mehedi was one of those Bangladesh players who did not sit down on the floor after Shamar Springer hit the match-winning four. Instead, he pulled a few of his team-mates to their feet, and when all of them were slowly walking towards the on-coming West Indies players to shake hands, the Shere Bangla National Stadium gave them a standing ovation.

Mehedi had been the face of Bangladesh Under-19s side all tournament. His calmness under pressure, and his ability to bring the team out of trouble had touched one and all.

From 88 for 4 with the set batsman Joyraz Sheik just dismissed, Bangladesh could have folded quickly, but Mehedi held on, adding 85 runs for the sixth wicket with Saifuddin. He rode out the pressure period and found a boundary whenever the West Indies bowlers tried to put together a cluster of dot balls. With the ball, Mehedi bore the brunt of Gidron Paul’s early bashing but kept himself on until he removed Pope in the seventh over.

Bangladesh were still in the game at that stage, but it was not to be their day. Despite Mehedi’s 60 off 74 balls and the two early wickets, Bangladesh could not really find a way to beat West Indies. The crux of the trouble was not the West Indies fast bowlers’ early verve, but the way the hosts only made 30 runs in the last five overs and lost four wickets, including those of Mehedi and Saifuddin, before the pair could start the final assault.

Mehedi later said that 20 more runs towards the end of their innings would have made the difference, though he stood by the decision to bat first.

“The wicket was slow. We don’t play under pressure at this level of cricket,” he said. “We thought if we score 240-250, it would be difficult for any opposition. We were short by 20 runs. When Saifuddin and I got out at that time, the runs dropped down. That’s where it went wrong for us. If I was there till the end, we could have reached 250. We had to take risk as we had six wickets in hand in the last five overs. We went behind the eight-ball as soon as Saifuddin got out the next ball to my dismissal.”

Mehedi rued the extra runs mainly because of the way Saifuddin kept bowling those yorkers. He was proud of how Saifuddin kept Bangladesh in the game with his yorkers but realised that unless the West Indies batsmen went after him, they would not be effective. “He does bowl good yorkers but since we were defending a low total, it wasn’t working because they were not trying to go after him.

“Their attacking start reduced the pressure that was on them at the start of the chase. Had the spinners bowled better, we would have stopped them,” he said.

Mehedi said that his team learned how to handle pressure at a young age, particularly playing in front of a large crowd and handling expectations. “As much as we say there’s no pressure, there is some at the U19 level. We never played in front of such a big crowd.

“We had the pressure from the expectation that we have to win the semi-final. We are still very young. We have to manage all this, and now that we have seen such situations, played in front big crowds, we will manage it well next time.”

Mehedi’s side may have been the first from Bangladesh to reach the last four of the competition, but he hoped that the team would improve even further in the next World Cup.

“The third-place match is also important as it would mean we would be among the top five Test-playing nations in this competition. Mushfiq bhai’s team were fifth, and after us, the next generation can better our result.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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Feb 112016
Springer carries West Indies Under-19s into final
Bangladesh v West Indies, Under-19 World Cup, semi-final, Mirpur February 11, 2016

West Indies Under-19s 230 for 7 (Springer 62*, Hetmyer 60, Shawon 3-37) beat Bangladesh Under-19s 226 (Mehedi 60, Paul 3-20) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Shamar Springer had plenty to dance about after an incisive spell with the ball and a match-winning unbeaten 62 © Getty Images

West Indies Under-19s ended up stunning over 10,000 fans at the Shere Bangla Stadium by chasing down 227, with three wickets in hand, in an anxious fashion against Bangladesh Under-19s in the semi-final of the Under-19 World Cup. West Indies were cruising at 147 for 3 and seemed to be buckle under pressure after captain Shimron Hetmyer fell for 60. They lost two more wickets for 34 runs but were salvaged by Shamar Springer‘s unbeaten 62 after his incisive spell of 10-0-36-2. West Indies will make their second appearance in an Under-19 World Cup final when they take on India Under-19s in Mirpur on Sunday.

The West Indies chase started in the usual aggressive mode when Gidron Pope clobbered 14 runs in the first over. He continued to attack and was dropped on 23 in the fourth over before he took his team to an intimidating 56 for 2 in seven overs. After Pope fell for 38, Hetmyer led the charge just like his counterpart Mehedi Hasan Miraz had done earlier in the day, with a measured knock in the company of Keacy Carty. The required run rate was just under four when they got together and they carried out their partnership of 62 in composed fashion.

They had no difficulty playing the spinners and Hetmyer brought up his second straight fifty but his dismissal in the 28th over threatened to tilt the game the other way. Springer was joined by Jyd Goolie and with no scoreboard pressure to face, they took the score past 175 until left-arm spinner Saleh Ahmed Shawon struck twice in four balls and West Indies were still 46 adrift with four wickets in hand.

Springer was still there, and he and Michael Frew ran well to steal ones and twos in a patient stand of 36 in 8.2 overs. Bangladesh struck again when Mohammad Saifuddin removed Frew for 12 but Springer’s presence saw them through as he hit the winning runs with eight balls to spare.

Bangladesh showed signs of nervousness too. They dropped Springer when he was on 15, fumbled when they shouldn’t have and conceded overthrows when the match was in the balance, possibly feeling the pressure of playing in front of a massive crowd that had gathered in Mirpur.

Earlier, Mehedi had to rescue his team again from a precarious position, just like he had done in the quarter-final against Nepal Under-19s. He forged an 85-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Mohammed Saifuddin, lifting the side from 113 for 5 to close to 200.

West Indies’ opening bowlers, Alzarri Joseph and Chemar Holder, started poorly after the hosts opted to bat. They conceded nine extras out of the total of 10 in the first two overs but later succeeded in removing the openers by the seventh over. They continued their barrage of short deliveries with varying lines, while Bangladesh found the odd boundary.

Just when Bangladesh were looking to lift the run rate after the first Powerplay, they lost Nazmul Hossain Shanto, their best batsman in the tournament so far, for 11 and medium-pacers Ryan John and Springer then choked the flow of runs. Joyraz Sheik, who was dropped off a tough chance on 6, led them on even as Zakir Hasan struggled to rotate the strike. Sheik, however, dragged one onto his off stump and Zakir was bowled once Holder was brought back for his second spell.

Mehedi eased the flow of runs and pulled his team out of trouble once the spinners Jyd Goolie, Pope and Frew came on, relying on plenty of back-foot strokes. Once the hosts looked comfortable, the spinners sent down more loose deliveries and the fielders started to misfield, too.

Saifuddin played a more patient role in the partnership with Mehedi and was content giving strike to the captain, who brought up his fifty off 63 balls. Their comfort ended in the 45th over. Pacer Keemo Paul, who had injured himself while fielding earlier, came on in the 46th over and struck off consecutive deliveries to remove both set batsmen and hurt Bangladesh’s chances of a total close to 240. Springer was economical in the slog overs, too, and a couple of fours and a six from the tail pushed Bangladesh past 220. They were dismissed for 226 off the last ball of the innings.

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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