After reaching the highest level of cricket for over four years, the Bangladesh Under-19 team reached new heights yesterday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium when they defeated the United Arab Emirates by 195 runs to win their first-ever ACC Under-19 Asia Cup.
Bangladesh set a difficult target of 283 runs, with opener Ashiqur Rahman Shibly scoring 129 off 149 balls, his second century of the tournament, and half-centuries from Chowdhury Mohammad Rizwan and Ariful Islam.
The bowlers then completed a crushing victory by bowling out the hosts for just 87 runs.
The UAE batsmen were unable to withstand the aggression of the Bangladeshi pace trio, as Maruf Mridha, Rohanat Doullah Borson, and Iqbal Hossain Emon each claimed three wickets and a pair.
The young Tigers’ dominating victory completed an incredible tournament in which they emerged as the unbeaten champions.
Throughout the season, the team played flawlessly; they won their group and advanced to the final by upsetting a formidable Indian squad in the semifinals.
Player of the tournament and championship game Throughout the tournament, Shibly was the team’s most impressive player, amassing the greatest total of 378 runs at an incredible average of 126 in five games—the most in the event.
In the end, Shibly played a crucial role for Bangladesh as well because of his collaborations with Rizwan and Ariful, which laid the groundwork for their win.
Following Jishan Alam’s early removal, the right-hander and Rizwan put up an undefeated 125-run partnership to end the innings. Later, they combined for 86 runs off of 76 balls with Ariful, propelling the side to a commanding 282-8.
The UAE, who had previously lost to Bangladesh by 65 runs in their group-stage match, found the target to be too much.
Only two batters from the host team managed to reach double figures as Bangladesh continued to take wickets consistently.
The Under-19 team’s victory makes them the second Bangladeshi team to be crowned the finest cricket team in Asia.
Prior to them was the women’s team from Bangladesh, who won the 2018 women’s Asia Cup after defeating India in the final in Kuala Lumpur.
Regarding the national men’s team, the Asia Cup has continued to be a source of immense sadness since, even though the Tigers have advanced to three finals out of four editions, they have consistently failed at the last hurdle in the continental competition.
For the young Tigers, the first-ever Asia Cup victory was also well-timed, as they will be attempting to emulate the feats of their 2020 ICC U-19 World Cup winning campaign nearly precisely a month later.
The ICC’s premier age-level competition is set to return to South Africa on January 19, 2024. Bangladesh will have an opportunity to redeem themselves for their poor performance in the 2022 edition, where they came in eighth.