Mahmudul Hasan Joy hit a perfect century to lead Bangladesh to an easy six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second semifinal on Thursday as his team reached their first ever U-19 World Cup final.
After the Young Tigers lost their second wicket on 32 in their chase of 212, Mahmudul first added 68 in the third wicket partnership with Towhid Hridoy and then 101 in the fourth wicket with Shahadat Hossain.
Both Towhid and Shahadat contributed 40 in this historic win, coincidentally both hitting four fours in their respective innings.
When Mahmudul departed immediately after completing his century, Bangladesh were just 11 runs from victory.
The Man-of-the-Match batsman hit 13 fours in his 100-run knock which lasted 127 balls.
Winning the toss, Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali had opted to field first and his bowlers did give him the best response, picking up the first wicket in the second over and getting the top three batsmen out just after the batting side crossed fifty. The fourth wicket was gone on 74, in the 26th over.
Middle-order batsmen Beckham Wheeler-Greenall then scored a brilliant 75 to defy the Bangladesh bowlers and take New Zealand to a decent score of 211 for 8.
Beckham and Nicholas Lidstone added 67 in the fifth wicket to repair some damage and although Lidstone missed his fifty by six runs when Shoriful Islam trapped him leg before, Beckham did seal his half century soon.
His 85-ball innings was studded with five fours and two sixes. Lidstone hit just two fours in his 44 made off 74 balls.
Shoriful was key for Bangladesh, bagging three wickets to dismantle the Kiwi batting, while Shamim Hossain and Hasan Murad claimed two each to give him the perfect support. Rakibul Hasan bagged the other wicket.
Bangladesh will now play favourites India in Sunday’s final and Akbar Ali and boys will aim to etch their name in history.
A tough task certainly, but on a given day anyone can win, and who would deny that at the age level things get a little more unpredictable.