Skipper Akbar steers Bangladesh to Under-19 World Cup triumph


“Rakibul Hasan salutes the crowd after hitting the winning runs for Bangladesh in the Under 19 World Cup final against India. ©AFP” /> (South Africa) (AFP) – Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali kept his calm to lead his team to a stunning three-wicket win over India in Potchefstroom to win the Under-19 World Cup for the first time.

Chasing 178 to win, Bangladesh were struggling at 102 for six but Akbar, who finished 43 not out, dragged them towards the line.

A brief flurry of rain saw the players leave the field with Bangladesh on 163 for seven.When they returned the target had been adjusted under DLS to 170 from 46 overs.

Bangladesh needed seven from 30 balls and Akbar and Rakibul Hasan duly knocked off the runs to claim Bangladesh’s first World Cup at any level.

“It’s an unbelievable experience,” said Rakibul who hit the winning run.

“We came here with plans and it worked out really well.Whichever team executes their plans better on the day wins, and that happened for us today.”

The day started well for Bangladesh when Akbar called correctly at the toss and put India in to bat.

Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal was again the stand-out batsman for defending champions India as he carved 88 from 121 balls.

The 18-year-old left-hander from Uttar Pradash already had three fifties and a century under his belt at this competition – the only time he failed to make a half-century was in the group match against Japan when India needed just 42 to win.

Jaiswal, who has just landed a contract with Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals, hit eight fours and a six before miscuing a short-arm pull off Shoriful Islam.

He ended the competition as top run-scorer with 400 at an average of 133.33 and was named Player of the Tournament.

Avishek Das was the most successful bowler with three for 40 and there were two each for Shoriful and Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

Tilak Varma made a watchful 38 from 65 balls and Dhruv Jurel 22 from 38 as the Indians struggled to attack the Bangladeshi bowling.

Jaiswal apart, the other Indian batsmen managed just four boundaries between them.

– Bishnoi battle –

Bangladesh began confidently through Parvez Hossain Emon and Tanzid Hasan who brought up the 50 partnership with a six off Ravi Bishnoi.

Three balls later he fell for the Bishnoi googly and holed out to Kartik Tyagi at midwicket.

Another googly accounted for Mahmudul Hasan Joy, who had scored a century in the semi-final win over New Zealand, but as he departed so did Emon who retired hurt on 25 suffering from cramp.

Bishnoi, who finished with four for 30, then removed Towhid Hridoy and Shahadat Hossain in quick succession to have Bangladesh reeling at 65 for four.

At 102 for six the game looked over but Emon returned to join pugnacious captain Akbar Ali.

Together they added 41 and when Emon fell to the leg-spin of Jaiwal for 47, it was left to Akbar to see his side home.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Akbar.

“We’ve had a very good experience, and this is just the beginning for us.Hopefully, this will be the starting stone for us.”

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