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U19 cricket world cup

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Bangladesh, India players nearly come to blows after tense U-19 final

In fact, one India player rushed to confront and pushed a Bangladeshi player who had allegedly said uncharitable things and it was coach Paras Mhambrey seen calming his boys.

Shoriful Islam denied Yashasvi Jaiswal successive centuries, Bangladesh U-19s v India U-19s, Final, Potchefstroom, February 9, 2020. Photo: ICC
"It's a dream come true" said Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali, who regretted the unwanted aggression from his players which nearly resulted into a free for all after his team won the U-19 ICC World Cup.

The match ended on a controversial note with players of the two teams seen engaging in an exchange of words and even some pushing and shoving on the field, leaving a Bangladeshi flag damaged in the process. This followed moments of tension between players at several points during the match.

The finer details of the incident are yet to come out, but the ICC is understood to be taking the issue "seriously" ahead of a fuller update from the match referee, Graeme Labrooy, on Monday.

"Some of our bowlers were emotional and were pumped up. What happened after the game was unfortunate. I would like to congratulate India," skipper Akbar showed maturity beyond years at the post-match conference. As soon as the match ended, it became tense with Bangladeshi players rushing to the ground.

In fact, one India player rushed to confront and pushed a Bangladeshi player who had allegedly said uncharitable things and it was coach Paras Mhambrey seen calming his boys.

"What happened, it should not [have] happened," Akbar Ali, the Bangladesh captain who led his team to the win with an unbeaten 43 in a tense finish, said at the post-match press conference. "I don't know what exactly happened. I didn't ask what was going on. But, you know, in the final, emotion can come out, and sometimes the boys were getting pumped, and emotions were coming through. As a youngster, it shouldn't happen. In any position, in any manner, we have to show the respect to the opponent, we should have respect for the game.

"Cricket is known for being a gentleman's game. So I'll say, I'll be sorry for my team."

Priyam Garg, the India captain, was clear that the Bangladeshi players were to blame, at least when it came to the sequence of events at the close.

"We were easy. We think it's part and parcel of the game - you win some and you lose some," he said. "But their reaction was dirty. I think it shouldn't have happened. But it's okay."

There was needle between the two sides from the start. As early as in the second over of the match, in the Indian innings, Divyaansh Saxena tapped a ball back to the bowler, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, who picked it up and hurled it back, sending it flying not too far from the batsman's head. Saxena was out of his crease, so the attempt to run the batsman out was legit, but it was followed by a bit of staring and mouthing-off, and needed an intervention on the part of umpire Adrian Holstock.

When Yashasvi Jaiswal was dismissed late in the Indian innings, too, bowler Shoriful Islam couldn't resist giving the batsman a bit of a send-off. What happened at the end of the match, however, was the worst of the lot.

There were a few bottles thrown into Senwes Park from the stands as well - the two sets of fans having a go at each other was pretty much a constant during the game. The stakes were high, and so were the tempers. It might have rubbed off on the players too.

For a while now, at least in terms of the on-field action between the senior teams, the Bangladesh v India rivalry has perhaps even crossed India v Pakistan in terms of intensity. At the Under-19 level, too, more than one game in the last two years have had close finishes, and Akbar admitted that there was an element of "revenge" on the part of the Bangladesh boys for their defeat by just five runs in the Asia Cup final in September last year.

"I'll say India-Bangladesh rivalry bring the part, and before the World Cup final, we lost the Asia Cup final to them a couple of months ago. So I think the boys are really pumped up and take a revenge," Akbar said. "I won't say it should have happened, but I will be sorry for my side."

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It's always the Indians crying foul after being given a dose of their own medicine. The Indians are well known to abuse and use cuss words against other subcontinental teams, look no further than yesterday's 2nd innings when they were bowling. Pathetic uncultured crybabies.

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Being a team, and not chasing personal glory, does the trick for Bangladesh

At the end of the Under-19 World Cup 2020 final, India's Yashasvi Jaiswal (400 runs) and Ravi Bishnoi (17 wickets) finished as the most successful batsman and bowler of the competition respectively, but the title of world champions went to Bangladesh. That's because, on the big day, it was teamwork that made Bangladesh's dream work.

Like in the whole tournament, Jaiswal and Bishnoi were the best individual performers on the day, the opening batsman scoring 88 and the legspinner picking up a four-wicket haul to give India a sniff. But there were at least five performances from the Bangladesh players, none of which as sparkling as Jaiswal's or Bishnoi's, but added up to more on the day.

When Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali walked out to bat in their chase of 178, Bangladesh were 65 for 4 - all four wickets going to Bishnoi - and in the midst of an epic Indian comeback. Entering the match, Akbar had scored only 26 runs in three games and Bishnoi was turning the ball sharply both ways. Akbar had to not only get himself in, but navigate the game while protecting the lesser batsmen at the other end. He did so for 6.5 overs, guiding bowling allrounders Shamim Hossain and Avishek Das, but when both of them were sent back in quick succession, Bangladesh were tottering again at 102 for 6.

But Akbar had one trump card in his ranks. Parvez Hossain Emon, the opener who had retired hurt on 25 due to cramps in the 13th over, had looked in control against the new ball. And he was going to come out if needed. When they met in the middle following Das' dismissal, they could see the clouds overhead turning greyer by the moment. They needed 76 more, and Akbar and Parvez had to score most of them. So they went for the counter-attack with Bishnoi out of the attack. Helped by wides and byes from the Indians, they eked out 41 runs in the next nine overs. As Bangladesh went ahead of the game again, they went from aggressive to defensive. And so, when Jaiswal, the part-timer, was introduced, Parvez looked to break the shackles, only to be caught at cover to depart for 47. But Bangladesh were 143 for 7 by then.

"Emon showed his character," Akbar said after the game. "He wasn't even at his 30%. When Emon came to the dressing room during cramping, that was the crunch moment with two new batsmen and India dominating. After the sixth wicket when Emon returned, the way he batted… I am really proud of him.

"We wanted to keep things simple in the chase. Wanted to maintain the process. [Openers] Tanzid Hasan and Emon gave us a very good start, but Ravi bowled exceptionally well, so need to give credit to him.

"When I entered the chase, I knew we needed one big partnership from us. And we came to the party. When I was batting, the plan was to not lose many wickets since rain was around, so had to keep one eye on the DLS."

But it wasn't over. In walked Rakibul Hasan at No. 9, his previous highest score in top-flight cricket being 1 not out. With the team ahead of the DLS par score - albeit marginally - and plenty of overs to go, the objective changed for Akbar and Rakibul - stay put. The 35 runs needed, a win would come if they played their cards right. So, through the next 11 overs, Akbar blocked and blocked and blocked. He ran only if he could take twos, and if things went according to plan, Rakibul would not face more than one delivery per over.

Over by over, Akbar and Rakibul inched closer to the target. As the partnership grew, so did Rakibul's confidence, and Akbar began to rely on his partner a bit more. From facing one ball an over, Rakibul was facing three - he even played out a whole over from the dangerous Bishnoi. Every run took Bangladesh closer to the target, and they were all met with applause that increased in intensity.

With 15 runs to win and the team 18 ahead of the DLS par, the rain came down - in the 41st over. But that worked in Bangladesh's advantage because of how slow India's over-rate was. When the teams returned, eight runs were shaved off Bangladesh's target. They came on cue, from Rakibul, and sent the Bangladesh crowd - and players - into ecstasy. For his composed batting in the midst of pressure he had never faced before, Akbar collected the Player-of-the-Match award along with the big trophy.

"In the first half of the tournament, I wasn't getting much runs. In the final, opportunity came to me. I had to be the chase-man, the finisher, so happy to do that for my team," he said.

Akbar also praised Bangladesh's bowling attack, particularly left-arm seamer Shoriful Islam, who finished with 2 for 31 and ran Bishnoi out, doing the job in his follow through as the Indians were looking to steal a single in the 44th over. Two overs before that, Shoriful had delivered a double-blow, dismissing Jaiswal and Siddhesh Veer in consecutive deliveries. It triggered a collapse of epic proportions with the defending champions losing seven wickets for 21 runs to fold for 177.

"After winning the toss, we wanted to take early wickets," Akbar said. "We got the opener (Divyaansh Saxena), but Tilak Varma and Jaiswal had a very good partnership.

"In the middle of the innings, we thought we had to chase 240, but Shoriful's 40th over changed the climate. Was a fantastic bowling effort to restrict India below 180. At the toss, we would've accepted anything under 220."

It was this teamwork and togetherness than helped Bangladesh clinch the crown. Bangladesh's highest-run scorer of the tournament - Mahmudul Hasan Joy - finished at No. 15 on the list of highest run-scorers. But, importantly, Nos. 18 and 19 were also from Bangladesh - Tanzid and Shahadat Hossain, respectively. Their highest wicket-taker, Rakibul, finished joint sixth on the list of highest wicket-takers with 12 strikers, but Shoriful had nine, Tanzim Hasan Sakib had seven and Shamim Hossain five.

The Bangladesh players didn't necessarily produce performances that would dominate the World Cup highlights reel, but you don't need be there to be champions. That's what worked for them and, perhaps, proved the difference between victory and defeat for India.

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Bangladesh answered the Indian bullies with the bat and united team work. This is perhaps symbolic of how the country's leadership should act. The U-19 team taught a lot of elders a lot more than "playing games". By bat and united team work I mean a strong military capability and a fully united country free from petty politics when it comes to national issues.

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Tales of 'Akbar the Great' and feeding sweets to strangers

Bangladesh celebrates
Independent Online/ESPNcricinfo

For a moment, a nation stopped breathing. People got out of their cars, while sitting in endless traffic jams, to celebrate with each other. Some went in search of a nearby TV, whether it was at an electronics store or a clubhouse tent, to celebrate with more strangers. There were chants of "Bangladesh, Bangladesh" across cities, towns and villages, with reports of victory processions in several places.

A Facebook video showed one man wearing a Bangladesh jersey, feeding pedestrians and rickshaw-pullers from a box of sweets. There was one photo of a group of people crowding around a phone, trying to catch the game, at a wedding. Millions congratulated the youngsters and the country on social media, while newspaper headlines on Monday morning screamed of the achievement - Bangladesh's first major global sporting trophy. One headline even made reference to "Akbar the Great".

Still, all this qualifies as muted celebrations by Bangladeshi standards. More fun had probably been had after Bangladesh won the 1997 ICC Trophy, and after some of their major ODI wins of the last 20 years. Massive celebrations of those victories at the Dhaka University campus and Old Dhaka had often included rong khela (playing with coloured powders, much like during the festival of Holi) and fireworks. But the reaction to Bangladesh's three-wicket win over India in Potchefstroom wasn't massive mainly because the cricket-watching public was cautious - they have experienced too many heartbreaks in finals to keep pots of water colours or fireworks handy.

It was also an Under-19 World Cup final, as opposed to a senior tournament, so for many casual fans, it must have become an occasion only after Bangladesh had bowled out India cheaply. As the evening went on, with many disillusioned by the senior men's performance in the Rawalpindi Test, switching TV channels was the way to go. Akbar Ali's men provided enough drama when they faltered in the chase, and needed their captain to bail them out. By the time Rakibul Hasan hit the winning runs, the wild celebrations had begun.

Winning major titles is rare thing in Bangladesh sports. There was however a connection between both cricketing achievements,1997 and 2020. Present on both occasions was Hasibul Hossain, the former fast bowler who is now an age-group selector travelling with the U-19 team. Hasibul had famously hit the winning runs in the 1997 final in Kuala Lumpur.

"These are different feelings, it is hard for me to describe," Hasibul told ESPNcricinfo from Potchefstroom, soon after the triumph. "We are overjoyed by winning this title. It had been a long time coming, and we have planned this for so long. It is really satisfying to see these boys reach such a height."

There were celebrations still going on behind Hasibul it seemed, and later the ICC published video of dressing-room scenes: players and team management dancing together. The celebrations will continue when the team arrives in Dhaka, with reports and rumors of cash rewards awaiting the players. It will be a heady time for these young cricketers, and how they cope with all the attention and fame is going to have a major influence on the rest of their lives.

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