It could have been Bangladesh's opportunity to extend their domination over India at the Under-19 level. From looking set to concede 320 at one stage, they pulled India back to 265 all out. Instead, Bangladesh will have to settle for a fifth-sixth play-off game against England, while India set up a semi-final showdown against Pakistan. Here are five talking points from the clash in Queenstown:
Ishan Porel's return
At six feet and two inches, Ishan Porel generates disconcerting bounce at a lively pace. When he injured his left heel during the tournament opener against Australia, the team management was clear that sending him back home wasn't an option because it could have demoralised a 19-year old who had prepared specifically for this event over the last two years.
Over the past week, Porel has slowly been eased back into training. The team management benefited from having a six-day break between their last group game and the quarter-final. The intensity of his training was full tilt on match-eve, but coach Rahul Dravid wasn't entirely sure how he'd pull up till the morning of the game.
Porel woke up without any soreness and was brought back in for Arshdeep Singh, who had done his reputation no harm with his left-arm swing bowling. In five overs, Porel proved the wait was worth it. His opening spell of 5-2-8-0 set the tone for India applying the pressure on Bangladesh in the chase.
"He was right at the batsman," Prithvi Shaw, the India captain, said. "For him to come back from an injury and bowl the kind of spell he did was superb. He didn't pick wickets but did a great job."
India's ground fielding
India's two most athletic fast bowlers Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti ran out Towhid Hridoy and Aminul Islam respectively. Mavi swooped in from cover point to effect a direct hit at the striker's end via an underarm flick, while Nagarkoti's flat throw from square leg to the keeper had the batsman short. These two wickets in the space of 10 deliveries effectively killed Bangladesh's chase.
"Normally it's usual for pacers to finish their overs and take breaks, but these two are switched on all the time," Shubman Gill, the top-scorer for India, said. "It pushes us batsmen, too, to match them especially when you see them fielding like that."
Bangladesh coach Damien Wright went as far as calling this the best fielding performance in the tournament. "It was as good as I've seen from any team. The way they created pressure was simply outstanding," he said. "India's fielding standard today was where you aspire to be as a young team."
The Gill-Abhishek show
Gill and Abhishek Sharma have been team-mates since their Under-14 days. They're room-mates on tour and are the pranksters that keep the team going. On Friday, they weren't in the mood for some laughter, though. Gill had to build the innings around the dismissals of Shaw and Harvik Desai, while Abhishek had to ride a middle-order collapse and delay his slog till the end. Along the way, he constructed a near run-a-ball half-century that helped India cross 250.
Sledging and war of words
There was spite, words exchanged and plenty of chatter when India were batting. Gill got an earful from the wicketkeeper and Bangladesh's close-in fielders. India repaid in kind, choosing to sledge Bangladesh in Bengali through Ishan Porel and Riyan Parag, who come from the east and are familiar with the language.
Shaw brushed off all the chatter, choosing to term it "on-field intensity." He, however, clarified they didn't cross the line. "Those two speak Bengali, even I didn't understand what they were saying, but they were just having fun. I told all the boys to show proper attitude and intensity on the field till the last ball was bowled."
Gill, however, was a little more forthcoming. "At the Asia Cup in November, we lost to Bangladesh. That time, they said many things to us. That was on our mind. All of us were pumped up and I thought we showed great intensity."
Bangladesh captain Saif Hassan had a different take, but put all the chat down to it being part of the game. "These things happen. In that Asia Cup game, we had momentum on our side, so we were sledging them a bit, like what they did to us today. It's all part of the game."
Bangladesh's diffident approach with the bat
Where India were gung-ho in their approach in the first 10 overs, racing to 71 despite the loss of an early wicket, Bangladesh were overcautious and appeared to have miscalculated the chase. They didn't score off 41 deliveries in the first Powerplay and limped to 28 for 1. This put immense pressure on the batsmen to break free at some stage. With Porel and Mavi having completed their first spells, they may have anticipated a release of pressure. Except, they had the fiery Nagarkoti hurling down deliveries at speed.
"Our approach was not good, we should have taken calculated risks," Saif said. "If we showed better approach in the first 10 overs, the middle order wouldn't have been forced to take risks like they did. That led to our collapse."