Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx
England 98 for 3 (Bethell 44, Rew 26*) beat Bangladesh 97(Mondol 33*, Boyden 4-16, Aspinwall 2-18) by seven wickets
Bangladesh crashed and burned in their opening game of the Under-19 World Cup, getting bowled out for 97, as England began their campaign with a seven-wicket win over the defending champions in Basseterre's Warner Park.
Bangladesh were rattled by England's left-arm seamer Joshua Boyden, who effected four caught-behind dismissals after Bangladesh opted to bat first. He finished with 4 for 16 from his nine overs that also included four maidens.
Boyden, who plays for Lancashire 2nd XI, took the new ball and in the third over of his spell struck with a ball angling across opener Mahfijul Islam as he tried to drive away from his body. Next over, the other Bangladesh opener, Ariful Islam, was sent back in similar fashion, once again pocketed by wicketkeeper Alex Horton.
From the opposite end, right-arm seamer James Sales picked off Prantik Nawrose Nabil with another catch to the keeper, and when a direct-hit from William Luxton had wicketkeeper-batter Md Fahim packing for 1, Bangladesh were reeling at 8 for 4.
Bangladesh promoted Ashiqur Zaman up the order to up the scoring, but his inexperience with the bat showed when he was out for 9 trying to pull a Thomas Aspinwall ball that got big on him.
With England well and truly on top, Bangladesh's No. 4 Aich Mollah (13) tried to start a rebuilding process alongside Abdullah Al Mamun. But Mollah fell to Fateh Singh's left-arm spin when his cut behind point went straight to gully.
Boyden, returning for a new spell, then brought the wicketkeeper back into play, in the 23rd over, by getting a length ball to nip across left-hander Mamun's bat, taking a faint edge to Horton. Next over, SM Meherob top-edged a short ball from Aspinwall to Horton for his fifth catch and the score was 51 for 8.
Bangladesh captain and bowling allrounder Rakibul Hasan was soon dismissed off the first ball he faed when a full delivery from Boydon angled across him, and the his aggressive-looking drive was edged to Horton.
Bangladesh's final pair, however, dug in to give the team some hope of a triple-digit score. Naimur Rohman made 11 and the No. 11 Ripon Mondol swung his bat around to crack five fours and a six to make 33. Their partnership of 46 runs pushed Bangladesh to 97 for 9 before Rohman pulled right-arm offspinner Tom Prest to a diving James Rew at midwicket.
England's openers were in no hurry to chase the target of 98 down, looking to settle in before opening their arms. In search of wickets, Rakibul rotated his bowling options to find that opening breakthrough, and it came in the ninth over from second-change bowler Mondol when opener George Thomas mistimed a pull to midwicket.
Prest, the England captain, then walked in at No. 3 with the score 20 for 1, but he didn't last long. After taking 15 balls to score four runs, he got tempted to cut one square with a half-tracker from Rakibul, but ended up getting a thick edge to wicketkeeper Mollah. With England at 26 for 2, and Bangladesh lifted following two quick wickets, there was still a chance for the defending champions to make a game of the contest despite the low target.
But all those hopes for Bangladesh were dashed by the third-wicket stand between Jacob Bethell and Rew. Despite being in no rush to get his runs, the opener Bethell impressed with his strokes, cracking four fours and two sixes. He made 44 in 63 balls, and held one end up, exactly what England needed at the time. However, he was run out responding to a single from Rew.
With England on 91 for 3 and needing only seven more to win, Luxton walked in at No. 5 and played a slog sweep over deep midwicket off his very first ball. Rew then knocked off a single, for his 26th run, to seal England's win with 149 balls to spare.
"That's probably the perfect start," Prest said after the game. "For our bowlers to get them out for under 100 was very good. In the end, a good toss to lose.
"Boydon was really good doing that for us, good at swinging the ball, especially to left-handers. We fielded very well, we were fizzing around. Fielding has been a big focus of ours."
"I think as a batting unit we didn't do well," Rakibul said. "We want to come back stronger next game with the batting. We had some good batters at the end and they showed great character. If our main batsmen score some runs, then we can surely come back stronger in the next match. Look, for us, two games remain. We need to win two games to cross the line and we need to play our best cricket."
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