When the Tiger Cubs conquered the African Safari

10 February 2020 08:32 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


It was always meant to be Bangladesh's. This day was always theirs. They had no business getting it this close. But Bangladesh being Bangladesh, stayed true to their character and the reputation that comes with it, making sure everybody, every soul at the ground, and every soul watching went through an entire spectrum of emotions.

And hence, with their near choke, they've made every ball, every second a spectacle.

178 really shouldn't have been much of a challenge, especially after having bagged the momentum towards the end of the Indian innings, having skittled out the last seven wickets for just 21 runs. Again, 178 shouldn't have been a challenge, having gotten to 50 for no loss inside the ninth over, with the Indian quicks looking totally lost for answers after getting spanked all around.

But India had a certain Ravi Bishnoi, having already gained a reputation of being a havoc wrecker. He set it up with the loop for Tanzid Hasan to miscue his slog to long-on. The hero from the last match, Mahmudul Joy, ended up chopping on a googly, that was too close to be doing that to. The mystery had begun, the tables had turned mentally. Parvez Hossain Emon, picked up a hamstring injury, retired hurt, and made Bishnoi's running-through all the more easier. Towhid Hridoy played all around a pretty straightforward googly. Shahadat Hossain fell to some keeping brilliance, with Dhruv Jurel doing MS Dhoni proud, inflicting a stumping out of nowhere.

So all of a sudden, just like that, in the span of a loo break, Bangladesh had collapsed stunningly, all to Bishnoi, losing four wickets for 15 runs. And then further found a way to give Sushant Mishra - someone who looked totally out of sorts having bowled beamers and just not finding any rhythm - a couple of charity wickets.

At 102 for six, it looked like the wait for the maiden cup might get longer. But skipper Akbar Ali, on the back of a torrid run with the bat in the middle, couldn't have found a better moment for redemption. Emon returned. And together, normalcy returned, with plain singles, no-risk shots and some quiet overs to turn the tables back to equilibrium. It did help that Priyam Garg's trump card - Bishnoi - had only three overs left under his belt and was forced to use his off-colour pacers, but maturity was the biggest hallmark of this 41-run stand. They survived appeals, half-catches and the chirping close-in fielders.

Garg decided to gamble, brought on Jaiswal, the part-time leggie, and it turned to gold, getting Emon to lose his concentration with a rare stray shot. But the damage was done, with the dark clouds closing in and the DLS target comfortably overhauled even after the wicket fell.

But Akbar ensured he stayed clinical, refused to do anything silly and made sure the new batsman, Rakibul Hasan, didn't either. Slowly, but surely, they played out Bishnoi, Tyagi and by the time the rains actually came down hard enough to stop play, were comfortably ahead on the DLS method by 16 runs. Play did begin, Mishra resumed with six to defend, and Rakibul killed it with one final slice through point.

You know it's a special rivalry when you end up with thriller after thriller after thriller. And this rivalry doesn't discriminate, whether it's with the senior men's side, the under-19s or even women's cricket for that matter; try all you want, a non-thriller just won't come. But unlike many of the past results, the Colts today bucked the trend, and how!

Brief scores: India U-19 177 in 47.2 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 88, Tilak Varma 38; Avishek Das 3-40) lost to Bangladesh U-19 170/7 in 42.1 overs (Parvez Hossain Emon 47, Akbar Ali 43*; Ravi Bishnoi 4-30) by 3 wickets on DLS method. (cricbuzz.com)

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