Akbar says it’s just the beginning

Bangladesh skipper Akbar Ali plays a shot against India in U-19 World Cup final in Potchefstroom, South Africa on 9 February, 2020.Bangladesh skipper Akbar Ali said it’s a dream come true for him and his team and that it is just the beginning for them after they beat India by three wickets in a tense U-19 World Cup final on Sunday.

It was Bangladesh’s maiden World Cup win across all levels.

“It’s like a dream coming true. It’s all about the hard work that we put in the last 2 years. I can’t thank the coaching staff enough. It’s purely hard work,” Akbar said.

He also added that what happened after the match was unfortunate as both teams came to blows. There was constant sledging on the pitch during the game and that boiled over.

“What happened after the game was unfortunate,” he said.

India were bowled out for a paltry 177 but had Bangladesh in trouble with leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi bowling a superb spell riddled with googlies to reduce them to 102/6 at one stage.

But Akbar’s unbeaten heroic 43 helped them get past the line via D/L method as rain stopped play towards the end.

This is Bangladesh’s maiden World Cup title while defending champions India faced their first loss at this tournament in 12 matches since their defeat against West Indies in the final of the 2016 edition.

They have won the U-19 World Cup four times and were chasing a record-extending fifth title.

“Some of our bowlers were emotional and were pumped up. I would like to congratulate India. A big thank to all our supporters. It’s been a very good experience; it’s just a beginning for us. Hope it can be a stepping stone for our future cricketers,” Akbar added.

“When I entered, we needed a partnership. I told my partner that and we shouldn’t lose a wicket. The planning was simple. We knew that India won’t let it easy, they are a challenging side.

“We knew it would be a difficult chase. I am a person who wants to keep things simple. In the first half, I didn’t get much chance. So wanted to prove a point,” he said of the situation when he walked out to bat.

“I am feeling fantastic. We had come here to prove something and we were able to do that. It is an unbelievable feeling. The experience was very good. We had plans and worked hard for over a year now. The main thing was to execute our plans and not look at the opposition,” said Rakibul Hassan who hit the winning runs.

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