'We had a point to prove'
U-19s win opener against Sri Lanka
Anamul Haque led from the front with a scintillating hundred to give Bangladesh Under-19s a rousing start in the ICC U19 World Cup as they handed a 25-run defeat to Sri Lanka Under-19s in their opening Group D match at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane yesterday.
With the convincing victory the Bangladesh Under-19s not only exacted revenge for their defeat in the Asia Cup in June in Malaysia against their Sri Lankan counterparts but also increased their chances of qualification to the Super League as the top two teams from each group will qualify for the Cup stage of the 16-team competition.
After an early hiccup Asif Ahmed joined his captain to share a 141-run second wicket-stand, with Anamul's 101 augmented by 84 from Asif, helping Bangladesh to post a challenging total of 249 for 7 in 50 overs. Eventually it proved too steep a task for the Sri Lankans as they were bundled out for 224 with eight balls remaining. Soumya Sarker served the final blows by taking three wickets in his 1.4-over spell.
Captain Anamul was delighted with the start they made in the tournament and said that they were looking forward to beat South Africa in today's second group match at the same venue, although they lost against the same opponents in the official warm-up match.
“We had a point to prove against Sri Lanka, that we are a better team, and everybody was determined to play their best cricket against them. We could execute our plans in today's match and that's the reason we made a good start in the tournament. The early arrival in Australia and four practice matches helped us a lot in acclimatising to the conditions,” an excited Anamul told the Daily Star Sport over telephone after the match.
“We have to maintain our spirit in the next match against South Africa and I'm confident that we can beat them. We lost the practice match against South Africa in a close contest but we had a trick in reserve in that match as we didn't use our main spinners. Hopefully things will be different tomorrow (Sunday),” he added.
When asked about his innings, the right-hander said: “It was a true, hard and bouncy wicket and it was not too easy to bat against the rising deliveries. Capitalising on the conditions Sri Lanka took early wickets but Asif and I took up the challenge to build the innings. You know I love to play the cut and pull shots which helped me to score runs comfortably and Asif also played brilliantly.”
Back to the match, it looked a wise call when Sri Lanka skipper invited his opponents to bat first to exploit the early morning moisture as Soumya Sarkar fell to the second ball of the match. But Anamul launched a counterattack even as he lost the other opener, Liton Das, with the score on 42.
The Bangladesh youth team skipper however on in the company of Asif until his side had reached 183 in the 41st over. Anamul smashed nine fours and a six during his 127-ball essay while Asif hit six boundaries during his 114-ball stay.
The middle order capitalised on the platform with a handful of big hits to take the score to 249.
Sanitha de Mel, who initiated the early collapse, was the Lankans' most successful bowler, taking three wickets.
Sri Lanka enjoyed a sound enough start before the loss of Sebastian Perera heralded a collapse of 4 for 16. From 58 for 4 the Sri Lankans were always likely to struggle, and they were rounded up comfortably short of Bangladesh's total despite a determined 83 from Angelo Jayasinghe and Lahiru Madushanka's 48. Bangladesh's bowlers shared the spoils, Sarkar nabbing Jayasinghe as one of two wickets in an over with his part-time mediums to snuff out Sri Lanka's resistance.
In the other matches, defending champions Australia opened their campaign with a comprehensive six-wicket victory against England in Townsville, Afghanistan crashed to a 109-run defeat at the hands of Pakistan at John Blanck Oval and Zimbabwe posted a comprehensive 104-run victory over Papua New Guinea at Endeavour Park.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BANGLADESH UNDER-19S: 249-7 in 50 overs (Soumya 0, Liton 4, Anamul 101, Asif 84, Nurul 3, Al-Amin 21, Noor 15, Shabbir 2 not out, Taskin 1 not out; de Mel 3-46)
SRI LANKA UNDER-19S: 224 all out in 48.4 overs (Perera 25, Jayasinghe 83, Madushanka 48, de Mel 21; Shabbir 1-25, Taskin 2-44, Nasum 1-49, Nayeem 1-28, Soumya 3-10)
Result: Bangladesh Under-19s won by 25 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Anamul Haque.