Left-arm spinners Saumy Kumar Pandey and Musheer Khan headlined a dominant Indian performance as the defending champions outclassed Bangladesh by 84 runs in their opening game of the ICC U-19 World Cup on Saturday. While the total of 251 for 7 didn’t look big, the two Indian spinners choked the run-flow, shooting out ‘Tiger Cubs’ for a meagre 167 in 45.5 overs. Skipper Uday Saharan (64 off 94 balls) and left-handed opener Adarsh Singh (76 off 96 balls) hit half-centuries after Bangladesh invited the holders to take first strike. Saumy (4/24) was economical and bowled the lethal arm ball with a skiddy action while all-rounder Musheer (2/35) tossed it up and got enough drift to tighten the noose around Bangladeshi batters.
Musheer, younger brother Mumbai’s domestic stalwart Sarfaraz Khan, was a livewire on the field. He also effected a run-out.
What was impressive to see was no overt celebrations from either Saumy or Musheer, who carried on their job like thoroughbred professionals.
It was a fairly ill-tempered match with players from both sides indulging in sledging as the two teams have history of tension across senior men, senior women and U-19 level.
For Indian team, it was a sweet revenge after losing the Asia Cup semi-final to Bangladesh.
While the Indian batters found it difficult to get boundaries, the target was never below par as average score of teams batting first in Youth ODIs (U-19 ODI) at this ground was 201, and the highest successful chase being 243. In fact, India’s 251/7 on the day was the third highest score at this ground.
The team’s designated finisher Sachin Dhas showed admirable technique and temperament during death overs with a nice little unbeaten cameo of 26 off 20 balls that took the score past 250-run mark. The pulled six off seamer Rohanat Doullah Borson was a treat for the eyes.
This despite allowing Bangladeshi bowlers to bowl dot balls worth 26 overs during their innings.
Left-arm seamer Maruf Mridha (5/43) did damage at the start and during slog overs by bowling in right areas but would be a bit miffed with his skipper, who got his calculations wrong and didn’t let him complete his quota of 10 overs.
Possessing a skiddy action like Mustafizur Rahaman, Maruf varied his lengths, bowled closer to stumps at the start and mixed cutters with wide yorkers at the death to make life difficult for the India colts.
The foundation of the Indian innings was laid by Adarsh (76 off 96 balls) and skipper Saharan (64 off 94 balls), who added 116 runs for the third wicket in nearly 23.5 overs.
The two youngsters didn’t look comfortable against the Bangladesh spinners — offie Sheikh Paevez Jibon (0/39) and left-arm spinner Mahfuzur Rahaman Rabby (1/41).
The two spinners didn’t let the set batters get away as Adarsh had six fours and Saharan only four. In fact, Indian batters got only 14 boundaries and two sixes in 50 overs but it proved to be enough in the end.
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