The Bangladesh Think Tank, Golam Nowsher, Nazmul Abedeen, Mushfiqur Rahim and Allister de Winter

Bangladesh clinched fifth place in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup with a 98–run victory over Sri Lanka.

Victory was set up by a powerful middle-order display as Shakib Al Hasan and Mehrab Hossain both hit bracing half-centuries, Sakib’s 67 coming off just 43 deliveries. Coming in at 8, Sohrawardi Shuvo then hit 42 off 40 deliveries to take the Bangladesh score past 250 in the 46th over. The batsmen exploited the wide-open spaces of the SSC and made their runs eschewing any extraordinary shots. It was a procedural dismantling of a persevering attack. Bangladesh finished on 278 with no Sri Lankan bowler escaping punishment. Leg-spinner Malinga Pushpakumara was the only bowler not to concede a boundary.

Sri Lanka in reply showed considerable urgency in chasing down the target, an urgency that was initially misplaced when their captain Sameera de Zoysa was run out off his first delivery, having pushed off for a single only to find his partner scrambling back to the bowler’s end and the bowler, Dollar Mahmud with the ball in his hand. A big wicket and de Zoysa’s third duck in four innings in this competition.

Sacith Pathirana edging Sohrawardi Shuvo into the waiting hands of Shamsur Rahman

Nabil Samad pressed, beat the bat regularly and had many an lbw appeal turned down as his topspinners cannoned into the batsmen’s pads. Diljan Cooray lifted the pressure with a six in Samad’s seventh over. Sri Lanka were 100 for 3 after 20 overs. Just a few balls later, in Sakib’s first over Fernando top-edged a sweep to Samad running in from fine leg and Bangladesh were edging that much closer to victory.

Boundaries may have been found but singles were not, and gradually Bangladesh’s grip on the game tightened. Shuvo bowled Karunanayake off his pads. 109 for 5. After 25 overs Sri Lanka were 114 for 5, Dilhan Cooray looking good but running out of partners. Roshan Silva was bowled, charging. 120 for 6 and the required run rate over 7 an over.

Mehrab Hossain accepting the Man of the Match award from Sri Lankan legend Anura Tennekoon.

Shuvo reeled off ten consecutive overs for just 21 runs. Even Dilhan Cooray for all his talent, could only find the boundary once during this middle-innings stretch. When Tissera Perera was eighth out on 143, the required run rate was nine an over. By the time Sri Lanka passed 150 in the 38th over, the required run-rate was over ten and when Cooray holed out to long-off looking for his second consecutive boundary in the 41st over, it was pretty much all over.

Bangladesh’s captain still wore the badge of disappointment after taking the plaudits for finishing 5th in the U-19 World Cup, for the loss to England still stung deeply. “We’re happy to have finished better than last time (2004 Plate Winners) but we thought we could have gone even further. Five or six of this batch will go on to be full internationals and what we’ve shown here is that Bangladesh is not just a team that can win ‘on the day’, it is a team that can win on any day against anybody. We’ve set an example for the U-17s to follow in two years time.”

Super League Lower Place Play-Off Final: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field
Bangladesh: 278 for 8 off 50 overs (S. Al-Hasan 67, S. Rahman 35. M. Hossain 66*, S. Shuvo 42; S. Karunanayake 4-63)
Sri Lanka: 180 off overs (D. Cooray 58)
Man of the Match: Mehrab Hossain (Bangladesh)
View Scorecard >>

Filed February 20 2006