Defending champions India were knocked out of the Under-19 Asia Cup after suffering their second defeat in three days. After being upset by Nepal on Sunday, India were once again at the receiving end as Bangladesh chased down their target of 188 with eight wickets and four overs to spare.
The defeat meant Bangladesh and Nepal, from Group A, will join Pakistan and Afghanistan respectively in the semi-finals.
Rainy conditions had reduced the match at the Royal Selangor Club, India’s third venue in three games, to 32 overs a side. Bangladesh, who elected to field, dealt regular blows, reducing India to 85 for 4 at the halfway mark.
India, without two of their key batsmen in Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, couldn’t manage a single half-century, with Salman Khan’s unbeaten 39 from No. 7 being the highest. Two others – Harvik Desai (21) and Anuj Rawat (34) – wasted starts. The last four wickets added 71 to shore up the total in a must-win game.
Bangladesh’s opening pair of Pinak Ghosh and Mohammad Naim Sheikh provided a solid 82-run partnership to dent India’s hopes. Ghosh then teamed up with Mohammad Tawhid Hridoy to accelerate towards victory with an unbroken 83-run stand for the fourth wicket.
India coach Rahul Dravid is certain to be disappointed, but not totally dismayed. Dravid had opted to include a number of new faces in the Indian squad to identify a strong pool for the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand early next year. Dravid has stressed that at this level results are not his focus – it is more about identifying and developing the player’s skills and mindset.
Meanwhile, in Group B, Afghanistan joined Pakistan in the semi-finals by comprehensively beating UAE by 134 runs. This also ensured they had a better net run rate than Pakistan to claim the top spot in Group B.
Nepal thrashed Malaysia by eight wickets set up a semi-final against Bangladesh. Due to rain, the match was reduced to a 24-overs game. Malaysia sensationally slipped from 33 without loss to 45 all out. Nepal then chased down the target in 5.2 overs.