Bangladesh vs South Africa | Wednesday 27 January | ICC U19 World Cup | 04:45
The ICC U19 World Cup gets underway in Bangladesh on Wednesday when the hosts gear up for their opening Group A clash against South Africa at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.
Can the South Africans get their title defence off to the ideal start or will the hosts – who are looking like one of the pre-tournament favourites – knock the wind out of the South African sails?
To Win Match
South Africa 1/1
Not too many people seem to be giving Bangladesh’s U19 side much of a chance heading into this U19 World Cup. They have, however, put in some solid performances in recent months with sound wins over the likes of England, Zimbabwe as well as a resounding 3-0 series success over the West Indies earlier on in the year.
Their most recent win came against England in a warm-up game on Monday morning. Having won the toss and electing to bat, the tournament hosts struggled as they lost wickets regularly at the top of the order. At 91-5 after 23 overs, the young Tigers were staring down the barrel before Jaker Ali joined Shafiul Hayet strolled out to the middle. The two put on a handy partnership of 67 to take their side to 158-6 before a late show of belligerence from Mohammad Saifuddin helped propel the host’s to a competitive total of 246-8.
Having set a decent total in difficult batting conditions, Mehdi Hasan Miraz and Saifuddin reduced the visitors to 3-0 after just two overs. Some more magnificent bowling saw the English skittled out for 149 despite a brave rear-guard performance from Brad Taylor, Sam Curran and Callum Taylor.
Mehedi Hasan Miraz was the pick of the Bangladeshi bowlers as he claimed figures of 3-12 in eight overs. His namesake, Mehdi Hasan Rana also bowled eight overs, claiming outstanding figures of 2-14.
They’ve had plenty of preparation leading up to the tournament with a triangular series against India and Afghanistan as well as a three-match series against the West Indies. The side have also had the luxury of playing two warm-up games against Zimbabwe and more recently, England – matches which they won with consummate ease in familiar conditions.
By contrast, the junior South Africans have had precious little in the way of preparation leading into the tournament. The side have only played two warm-up games together, the first coming against Fiji, a game where the South Africans ran out comfortable 283-run winners.
They were provided with a much sterner test against the West Indies two days later in a 35-over game. Shimron Hetmyer won the toss and put the Windies into bat. The men from the Caribbean were reduced to 153-9 after their 35 overs with Conor McKerr the pick of the South African bowlers claiming figures of 3-30 in his seven overs.
South Africa’s chase looked to be well on course until the introduction of spin brought the scoring rate right down. Jyd Goolie and Michael Frew only managed to wickets between them, however, their ability to restrict scoring ultimately saved the game for the West Indies as South Africa limped to 153-4 as the match ended in a tie. Encouragingly, the top three all got starts, which will please the South African management.
Verdict: Bangladesh 8/10
I’m not going to lie, I’ve not seen any of these teams in action. However, judging by the dominant displays that Bangladesh have put in of late as well as taking into account their familiarity with the conditions of the Sub-Continent, they look good value to claim victory at 8/10.
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