Mehedi Hasan Miraz-led Bangladesh U-19s have finally arrived in the capital, Dhaka, after playing their league games in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar. Thanks to their unbeaten run in those games, the hosts have made it to the knock-out round of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2016 and on Friday, will clash with giant-killers Nepal in the quarter-finals at Mirpur.
This will be Bangladesh’s second ever appearance in the last eight stage of U-19 World Cup. Last time they reached this far was way back in 2006. According to cricket enthusiasts in Bangladesh, in the 2006 edition, their under-19 team, which was led by Mushfiqur Rahim had the potential to go all the way. However, unfortunately they lost to England.
In the ongoing edition, the ‘Lads in Green’ are one the favourites. Thus, the team management are making sure there is no complacency amongst the boys. Technical adviser, Stuart Law is spending a lot of time with the boys, talking to them individually – he is basically keeping them on their toes ahead of the big-ticket match.
In Friday’s game, eyes will be on opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto, who has already scored 200 runs in the three matches of the tournament. Skipper Miraz also put up some decent all-round performances.
However, Bangladesh’s strength in the knock-out out stages will be their spin attack. The wicket in Mirpur has started to break and the hosts’ have the right kind of bowlers to exploit these dry and dusty conditions.
Though Sanjit Saha, their premier off-spinner will not take any further part in the tournament, due to a faulty bowling action, they have the likes of Shawon Gazi, Ariful Islam, Saeed Sarkar to take care of the proceedings.
For Nepal, it is all about fighting against the odds. They know they are the underdogs here. So the pressure will be on the opposition and Nepal can play freely. With the victory against New Zealand in the league stages, this unit has already shown, on their day, they can trouble any side. This unpredictability will be Nepal’s USP in this crucial match.
Like Bangladesh, Nepal also has quite a few spin options. So, both the teams have the bowling firepower to topple each other and now it is all boils down to who bats better.
On this aspect, Rahul Dravid’s pep talk to the Nepal boys after the India match will certainly be helpful.
Bangladesh under-19s: Mehedi Hassan Miraz (C), Zakir Hasan (WK), Jaker Ali, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Joyraj Sheik, Pinak Ghosh, Saif Hassan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shafiul Hayat, Saeed Sarkar, Mehedi Hasan Rana, Abdul Halim, Sanjit Saha, Saleh Ahmed Shawon, Ariful Islam
Nepal under-19s: Raju Rijal (C & WK), Dipendra Airee, MD Sunil Dhamala, Himanshu Dutta, Saurabh Khanal, Sushil Kandel, Yogendra Karki, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishan Pandey, Shankar Rana, Prem Tamang, Arif Sheikh, Sandeep Sunar, Dipesh Shrestha, Rajbir Singh
Time: 9.00 am Local | 9.30 IST
Picture Courtesy: ICC
(Sandipan Banerjee is a Senior Correspondent at Cricwizz.com)