Sensible batting displays by Bangladesh National Under-19 Cricket Team captain Saif Hassan and opener Mohammad Naim powered their side to a massive total as the young Tigers won by 87 runs against Namibia in their Group-C opener of ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup on Saturday.
Heavy downpour earlier on the day at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand reduced the match to 20-over a side. Namibia won the toss and sent the boys in red and green to bat first.
The young Tigers started well with openers Pinak Ghosh and Naim on the crease.Pinak dominated the early scoring, making 26 of Bangladesh’s initial 33, and striking four fours.
His departure brought skipper Saif Hassan to the crease, and he provided a captain’s innings, smashing 84 off 48 balls, before falling on the last ball of the 20 overs. The other opener Naim played a vital knock of 60 runs off 43 balls and supported Saif from the other end of the wicket. Naim’s innings was laced with eight fours and a maximum.
Naim and Saif put on a partnership of 97 runs before Naim lost his composure in the 16th over. But it was talented captain Saif who showed determination and architected the most needed boundaries and over boundaries in the last few overs and piled up runs for their side.
Saif struck all five of his sixes in the four and a half overs which followed Naim’s dismissal, including three in the last over alone, as Bangladesh plundered 55 runs from the last four overs. Until Saif’s blazing performance, Namibia had a little opportunity to chase down a decent target but after the onslaught hammered by the Bangladesh skipper, the target looked quite impossible for Namibia to reach within 20 overs.
If Namibia’s bowling attacks could only have gotten Saif out, it might have harboured hopes of restricting their opponents to something around 160. But they didn’t, and the total ended up 30 runs past that as the Asian side finished at 190 for 4. All the Namibian bowlers were severely punished by Bangladesh batters, especially Saif. However, the faint hope of Namibia to do a miracle was shattered right away when the African side slid to 12 for 4. Most of the damage was done by seamer Qazi Onik Islam, who claimed superb figures of 14 for 2 from his four-over spell.
Namibia’s middle order batsmen Eben van Wyk and Nicol Loftie-Eaton paired up for a 69-run partnership which allowed them to at least regain some respectability. The former registered a half-century, all the more admirable for the hopeless circumstances in which it came, and helped his team reach 103 for 6 at the end.
Hasan Mahmud and Towhid Hridoy bagged two and one wicket respectively for team Bangladesh. Bangladesh will face Canada in their next group stage match on January 15 before playing against tough opponent England in their last Group-C match on January 18.
In yesterday’s Group-D encounter, Afghanistan comfortably defeated Pakistan by five wickets at the Cobham Oval in Whangarei.
Pakistan collected 188 losing all wickets for 47.4 overs which seemed too easy for the Afghans as they scored 194 for five wickets with one ball less than the losing side.
In Group-B, Zimbabwe thrashed Papua New Guinea by 10 wickets in a rain-curtailed 20 over match. PNG’s total of 95 was easily chased down by Zimbabwe openers Gregory Dollar (41) and Wesley Madhevere (53).
In Group-A, hosts New Zealand eased to 8-wicket win over defending champions West Indies at the Bay Oval with 63 balls to spare.
Although the title holders Windies put on a decent total of 233 for 8 but the young Black Caps collected 234 losing only two wickets, special thanks to opener Jakob Bhula (83) and one-down batsman Finn Allen (115 not out), who scored the first century of the tournament.