The India-Bangladesh rivalry is set to resume today as young Tigers will take on their familiar foes in the quarter-final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup at North Sound in West Indies today, setting up a rematch of last edition’s final.
Bangladesh were crowned the world champions after the 2020 U-19 World Cup final in South Africa when the young Tigers, led by Akbar Ali, defeated India by three wickets in a high-intensity final.
Things got so heated that three Bangladeshi and two Indian players were fined by the International Cricket Council following a post-match brawl.
Although the head to head record of Bangladesh U-19 against India is not great (winning four out of 24), Bangladesh managed to secure two wins out of the last five matches they played against the neighbouring country.
When they last met, India defeated Bangladesh by a huge margin of 103 runs at the semi-final of the U-19 Asia Cup in UAE.
Before the World Cup, Bangladesh played a tri-series against India U-19 A and India U-19 where they were undefeated winning four out of five matches, with the other abandoned.
The defending champions led by Rakibul Hasan, had a terrible start in the ongoing U-19 World Cup, losing to England by seven wickets in the opening match.
They were bundled out for just 97 runs by the English side, even after Ripon Mondol, batting at no. 10, had scored an unbeaten 33.
However, Bangladesh reached the quarterfinal as the group runners-up beating the minnows, Canada by eight wickets and the UAE by nine wickets.
India, on the other hand, have been unstoppable. They defeated South Africa by 45 runs in their first match, Ireland by 174 runs and Uganda by 326 runs in their second and third matches, respectively.
Players to watch
Iftakher Hossain and Ripon Mondol will be the two players to watch for Bangladesh.
Iftakher has been Bangladesh's most successful batter in the competition so far, scoring 98 runs in two matches with a fifty under his belt. Ripon tops the chart among the bowlers, taking eight wickets in three innings.
Also, the defending champions rely heavily on opener Mahfijul Islam. He has been a consistent performer for the young tigers, scoring a couple of fifties and a hundred in his last 10 innings.
Captain Rakibul Hasan, Aich Mollah, and Prantik Nawrose Nabil can all create a difference in the match.
For India, opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi has been in sublime form. He has a century and scored 228 runs in three innings. Raj Bawa will also be a player to watch as he scored 217 runs in three innings for India's youth team.
Among bowlers, Vicky Ostwal stands out, taking seven wickets in the competition so far.
The promise of a fearless brand of cricket
Captain Rakibul promised that his side will play a fearless brand of cricket against India, a characteristic that distinguished the previous U-19 set up from the rest of the lot.
“We have to be fearless and positive to get a good result against them. We've played quite a few matches against India before.”
“The Asia Cup semifinal and then the recent series we played against them in India. We have an idea about their strengths and weaknesses. We'll have a chance if we can keep the small errors to a minimum and execute our plans," the skipper said as he met the press yesterday.
Along with the last two wins which are giving the team much-needed confidence, the junior Tigers have also had a good gap of five-six days.
“We trained well during this time and according to what the match would be like. We're in a good space physically and mentally.”
Timing, where to watch
The match will kick off at 7 p.m. (Bangladesh Standard Time) in the Coolidge Cricket Ground of Antigua.
The Star Sports Network will show this knockout match live. Anyone can also watch the Bangladesh U-19 vs India U-19 quarter-final match live on the Hotstar app.