Saqibul Hasan blasts Bangladesh to victory
Bangladesh 221 for 4 (46.4 overs, Saqibul Hasan 100) beat Sri Lanka 217 (49.4 overs, Mathews 65, Saqibul Hasan 3-39) by six wickets
Saqibul Hasan produced an allround performance to grace any stage as Bangladesh surged to a six-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the final of the Under-19 triangular tournament. They have been the form side throughout the competition and the result confirms them as the rising stars at this level.
If the 15-year-old continues to perform as he did in this match, with a sparkling 86-ball century and three vital wickets, it will not be long before he is mixing it on the biggest stage. His century was studded with ten crisp boundaries as he dominated the attack after arriving at 51 for 1. He unleashed his trademark pull off the seamers and was not afraid to sweep the spinners.
With him providing such a dominate force the other batsmen were able to play second fiddle. Raqibul Hasan and Shamsur Rahman both acted as valuable support, content to work the singles and rotate the strike, in consecutive stands of 74 and 72. Although Saqibul Hasan fell just four runs short of the target he rightly received huge applause from the crowd, and his team-mates, after leaving a lasting memory on the tournament.
His wickets ensured Sri Lanka never found the going easy and struggled for momentum throughout their innings. The ball swung in the early stages and both openers were gone by the seventh over. Saqibul Hasan's first influence on proceedings came when he trapped Hans Fernando lbw. He then halted a threatening knock from Shalika Karunanayake, having him stumped for 37, as Sri Lanka stumbled for 90 for 4. The captain, Angelo Mathews, held the middle order together with a composed 65, including a thumping flat six over extra cover.
The Sri Lankans must have felt Saqibul Hasan was everywhere they looked as he added a catch and a run out to his match-winning contribution. His efforts put the seal on a stunning tournament for the allrounder. Never mind the Man-of-the-Match award being a formality, it won't have taken too long to decide that he also was the player of the tournament - 280 runs in seven matches and 10 wickets makes impressive reading.
This tournament has shown Bangladesh are blessed with some terrifically talented young players. Along with Saqibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim has confirmed his promise while Suhrawadi Shuvo is developing into a useful spinner. If a handful can transfer these performances on to the full international stage Bangladesh cricket will be the better for it.