Defending champions knocked out as India set up semi-final clash against Australia

India 117 for 5 (Raghuvanshi 44, Rasheed 26, Dhull 20*, Mondol 4-31) beat Bangladesh 111 all out (Meherob 30, Ravi 3-14, Ostwal 2-25) by five wickets

Bangladesh’s hopes of defending their U-19 World Cup title ended in the quarter-final stage as India’s bowlers rolled them over for 111.

Left-arm seamer Ravi Kumar took three wickets in his first spell. Left-arm spinner Vicky Ostwal then took two. Two Bangladesh batters were run out, and if it wasn’t for SM Meherob‘s 30, India could’ve been chasing a target of less than hundred.

Although India had a brief hiccup in the chase, the small target was chased down with five wickets in hand.

The game began with Yash Dhull winning the toss, and choosing to field on a surface where the Afghanistan-Sri Lanka quarter-final had produced only 264 runs across both innings.

Ravi found swing and rattled Bangladesh with his 3 for 14 up top. He first broke through Mahfijul Islam’s defense, Iftakher Hossain cut a wide ball to backward point, and soon enough Prantik Nawrose Nabil was walking back after edging an attempted drive that was going across him. From the other end, Rajvardhan Hangargekar troubled Bangladesh with his pace, his yorkers, and a mean short ball. Together, Ravi and Hangargekar strangled the run flow, aided by sharp fielding inside the circle.

Ostwal then found grip off the surface, getting balls to turn across right-handers. He was rewarded when Ariful Islam edged one behind, followed by Md Fahim’s rattled stumps after he failed to connect a reverse sweep. Aich Mollah, the No. 4, showed potential to play the long innings, but he was run out after a 48-ball 13, the score reading 56 for 7.

Meherob, the No. 8, offered a brief resistance to India’s perfect morning, putting on a 50-run partnership with Ashiqur Zaman (16). That dragged Bangladesh’s score into triple digits. But both fell in one over and Hangargekar took the tenth wicket with a short ball that was too hot for Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

India lost their first wicket for 0 in the 112-run chase, but Angkrish Raghuvanshi (44) and No. 3 Shaik Rasheed (26) absorbed the pressure Bangladesh were putting on after Harnoor Singh’s dismissal.

They reined in their shots early on with Mondol and Zaman bowling full to induce them to drive. Instead they defended and left to frustrate Bangladesh. The longer they batted, the more Bangladesh erred, with boundaries a common fixture in the second half of their 70-run partnership. Raghuvanshi whipped boundaries off his hips, Rasheed played in the ‘V’, and both put away half-trackers offered by the spinners.

Their stand effectively quashed whatever little hope Bangladesh had despite both falling in quick succession. Mondol returned to take three more wickets to finish with 4 for 31, but it was too little too late for the defending champions, his wickets a mere hiccup in India’s charge to the semi-final.

Dhull, back into the XI after a Covid-enforced break (along with vice-captain Rasheed), played a positive 26-ball 20 to stay unbeaten. Along with Kaushal Tambe (11*), he saw off what could’ve been a tricky final period of play. He was there at the other end when Tamble hit a six over long-on to seal the win.

India now face Australia in the second semi-final on February 2. The first semi-final is on February 1 between England and Afghanistan.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx