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The Report by Kanishkaa Balachandran in Abu Dhabi
February 19, 2014
Australia Under-19s 244 for 6 (Doran 99*, Gregory 48) beat Bangladesh Under-19s 170 (Shadman Islam 49, Litton Das 43, Ashkenazi 3 for 33, Andrews 3 for 35) by 74 runs
The permutations of qualifying from Group B, the most hotly contested of the four groups, finally came down to net run rate, as simultaneous matches in Abu Dhabi ended with Australia Under-19s and Afghanistan Under-19s going through to the quarter-finals. Australia secured their place as the top team in the group after beating Bangladesh Under-19s by 74 runs at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. The defeat was particularly heartbreaking for Bangladesh since they hadn't needed to win to qualify. Their target was 245, but once Afghanistan's result was known even 231 would have been enough.
Australia were effectively defending a score of 230 for a place in the quarters. At the Nursery Oval, a stone's throw from the Zayed stadium, Afghanistan made light work of their chase of 193 against Namibia Under-19s, completing it in 25.3 overs to move their net run-rate above Bangladesh's. Since that game finished earlier, Australia and Bangladesh knew what they needed to do to take the other remaining spot. By virtue of their big win, Australia took first place in Group C.
That Australia got home so comfortably was an anti-climax, given that Bangladesh were comfortably placed at 128 for 2 in 31.4 overs. The loss of their two set batsmen, Shadman Islam and Mosaddek Hossain, in quick succession triggered a collapse and the last eight wickets went down in just ten overs.
Australia too had their moments of struggle, especially in the first 20 overs of their innings. That they managed 244 was thanks to Jake Doran's unbeaten 99 and late hitting by the lower order, with 94 runs coming in the last ten overs.
Australia were put in to bat on a green surface with dead grass and the Bangladesh's left-arm new-ball pair of Mustafizur Rahman and Abu Haider troubled the top order with their seam movement. Rahman squared up Jaron Morgan with a peach of a delivery that seamed away late, getting him to edge to the keeper, before Haider beat Ben McDermott for pace with another splendid ball.
Matthew Short's powerfully driven boundaries through the off side forced field changes, with two catchers posted at cover and midwicket. But his promising knock ended when he set off for a single, turned back, and failed to make his ground. Damien Mortimer charged the left-arm spinner Nihaduzzaman and holed out to long-on, leaving Australia struggling at 61 for 4 in just under 20 overs.
Doran had a lucky escape at long-on, when Haider let him off on 38, spilling a catch running forward. It cost Bangladesh dear in the end as they let Doran add 105 with Alex Gregory, and that set the stage for the late acceleration. Gregory scored 48 before he was run out and James Bazley made a 12-ball 24. It remained to be seen whether Doran could get enough of the strike to push for a century. Thomas Andrews was connecting well, clearing the ropes twice, and he was given the freedom to get as many runs as possible. The final over, bowled by Haider, went for 21 runs and Doran had to remain content with an unbeaten 99.
Bangladesh lost Joyraz Sheik early, slashing to third man, but the in-form Shadman Islam and Litton Das batted confidently. Das' placement stood out when he bisected a small gap between short cover and mid-off and he brought out his power game when he charged the seamer Ben Ashkenazi and deposited the ball at least four rows behind the wide long-on boundary. Islam was fidgety to begin with, outside the off stump, but gained confidence with a punched boundary wide of cover.
A half-century and more was there for the taking for Das when he spooned legspinner Andrews to cover on 43. He had survived a run-out appeal just a ball before, but unlike Doran he failed to make the most of that life. Islam and Mosaddek Hossain brought some stability with a stand of 48 before Mosaddek was caught behind trying to cut. Islam was soon run out for 49 and Bangladesh's hold on the chase started to slip.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, had routed Namibia, putting the result of the Bangladesh-Australia match into focus. A three-wicket burst by Ashkenazi had Bangladesh limping at 167 for 8 and the safety target of 231 looked distant. It soon became 170 for 9 before Guy Walker wrapped it up for Australia, sending Mustafizur's off stump for a walk, setting up a quarter-final clash with West Indies on Sunday.
Bangladesh's slide from quarter-final contenders to the Plate league was dramatic. The mood in the camp was understandably somber and their captain Mehedy Hasan said the team had been aware of the 231-run target. He conceded that the batsmen hadn't batted responsibly enough.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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