After winning the U19 cricket world cup against Australia in New Zealand last year in February, the U19 Indian cricket team has added another feather to it cap by winning the U19 Asia Cup earlier this week. The finals were played against Bangladesh in the RPS Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in which India won by 5 runs in a low scoring thriller to claim their 7th title.
Both the semi-finals that were scheduled to be played on Thursday last week had been washed out and consequently caused India and Bangladesh qualify over Sri Lanka and Afghanistan respectively due to a higher position in their respective groups.
The finals witnessed a collapse in the Indian batting line up with only three batsmen managing a double figure score, namely, Captain D.C. Jurel (33), S.G. Rawat (19), and Karan Lal (37). Pacer Mittrunjoy Chowdhury and off spinner Shamim Hossain shined for Bangladesh by picking up 3 wickets each and bowling out India for only 106 in the 32.4 overs.
A good start by the Indian bowling unit lead by left arm pacer Akash Singh picking up 3 wickets early in the innings caused Bangladesh to struggle at 16/4. Although Skipper Akbar Ali and Mittrunjoy built up a strong partnership to take their side to 78/6, the rain caused a hindrance to their momentum as Atharwa Anolekar held his nerve and gave his side the much needed break through right after the game had resumed.
Tanzim Hasan Sakib and Rakibul Hasan took the game deeper by simply rotating the strike. With only 6 runs required in 17.4 overs to win, Anolekar picked up 2 more wickets in the span of 4 balls and got the Bangladeshi side all out for 101, winning the 7th title for his country.
Anolekar was presented with the Man of the Match award for his 5 wickets in 8 overs, whereas, opener Arjun Azad was presented with the Player of the Series award for his 202 runs in 4 games.
By: – Mohammed Siddiq M. – Abu Dhabi, UAE