Eight of USA's 11 boundaries in their chase came courtesy of left-handed opener Prannav Chettipalayam as the rest of USA's lineup struggled against a disciplined Bangladesh bowling unit before succumbing to defeat after Ariful Islam's first innings century.
File photo courtesy: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter/X @PeterDellaPenna
Bangladesh U19 middle-order batter Ariful Islam’s artful run-a-ball 103 proved too much for USA U19 to overcome in spite of a battling half-century from opener Prannav Chettipalayam as the Asian side clinched their second win of Group A and a spot in the Super Six stage with a 120-run win on Friday at the 2024 ICC Men’s U19 World Cup in Bloemfontein. Ariful paired with Ahrar Amin for a 122-run fourth-wicket partnership to propel Bangladesh through the middle of the innings before a fiery late burst from Mohammad Shihab James, who made 31 off 17 balls, helped Bangladesh make 94 runs off the last ten overs to take their side to a comfortably defendable total of 291 for 7.
“I think early on bowling we had a pretty good start,” USA U19 captain Rishi Ramesh said in the post-match presentation interview after the loss. “We kept them pretty low in the Powerplay. I think our pacers did a great job but then they were able to build a good partnership and I think we kind of lost control of the game. In batting, we also had a really good start. Credit to Prannav. He played a really good innings, but in the middle we got bogged down. So I think that was where we lost.”
USA won the toss and chose to field first with two changes made to their starting XI from the loss to Ireland a week earlier. Fast bowler Aarin Nadkarni and opening batter Bhavya Mehta played their first match of the tournament in place of Rayaan Bhagani and Aryaman Suri.
Bangladesh got off to a cautious start against the new ball combo of Arya Garg and Ateendra Subramanian, advancing to 29 in the ninth over before Garg struck for the first wicket. Shortly after he had been dropped on an edge behind off Subramanian, Adil Bin Siddik could not add to his 13 before driving Garg low to Parth Patel at extra cover, who took a sharp catch tumbling to his right.
Nadkarni arrived for his first over in the 13th
and produced an edge off Chowdhary Md Rizwan that flew wide of the keeper for a boundary. Nadkarni then switched ends for the 16th
over and produced another edge off a length ball in the fifth stump channel, but this time Patel had been moved out of the covers into slip and held into a waist high chance to remove Ashiqur Rahman Shibli for 27 to make it 67 for 2.
After taking two catches, Patel got into the wickets column with his offspin courtesy of a brilliant effort by substitute fielder Manav Nayak. Having come onto the field just four balls earlier in the 23rd
over after Garg briefly left the field due to a minor leg issue, Nayak sprinted 20 yards to his left to latch onto a lofted drive by Rizwan for 35 to make it 94 for 3.
But Bangladesh soon regained control of the match behind the century stand between Ariful and Ahrar. Ariful was mostly sedate in nudging his way to a half-century off 65 balls. But upon getting to 50, he began to showcase his flair with expert use of the reverse sweep. He punished USA’s spinners with the shot, scoring four consecutive boundaries with it, before taking on Nadkarni’s pace to execute a fifth reverse sweep for a boundary through third man. The partnership finally ended with Ahrar’s timing was thrown off by a slower bouncer from Nadkarni, resulting in a miscued pull that found Ramesh’s hands running left from midwicket in the circle for 44 to make it 216 for 4.
Two overs later, Ariful swatted a short ball through mid-on for a single to bring up a century off 99 balls. He then fell on the first ball of the 46th
over, attempting a reverse sweep once again but this time failing to make contact as Garg’s length delivery clattered into off stump to dismiss Ariful for 103 making it 237 for 5 with 29 balls to go.
However, Bangladesh added 54 runs the rest of the way thanks to some audacious hitting by James. It included a drive over long-on for six followed four balls later by an uppercut over backward point that also cleared the ropes.
Subramanian struck for his first wicket of the day in the 47th
, getting Bangladesh U19 captain Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby slicing a drive high to Ramesh at extra cover on the edge of the circle for 2 to make it 253 for 6. James’ brief onslaught finally ended on the last ball of the 48th
when he didn’t get enough distance on a lofted drive against Garg that found Patel 10 yards inside the rope at long-off for his third catch of the day making it 273 for 7. Bangladesh added 18 across the final two overs with Sheikh Jibon ending unbeaten on 13 off 7 balls and Rafi Uzzaman Rafi adding 7 not out off 6 balls.
Garg once again was USA’s best bowler in the stats column, ending with 3 for 68 in ten overs. Nadkarni bowled impressively to finish with 2 for 61 in ten while Subramanian claimed 1 for 50 in his ten. Patel was the only wicket-taker among USA’s spinners, finishing with 1 for 40 in eight overs. Left-arm spinner Khush Bhalala (0 for 41 in seven) and vice-captain Utkarsh Srivastava (0 for 28 in five) went wicketless.
USA mostly struggled to gain any momentum from the moment the chase began and Bangladesh were never put under serious pressure in defending their total. Two maidens to start the reply were an ominous sign and before long the dot ball pressure sparked the runout of Mehta. Fellow opener Chettipalayam flicked pace bowler Iqbal Hossain Emon through wide mid-on for an easy single to start the fifth over, but the pair unwisely chose to take on Rafi’s arm after he collected with a sliding effort moving to his left just outside the 30-yard circle. A sharp relay from Rafi to Emon over the bowler’s stumps resulted in Mehta being runout by 10 yards for a score of 5 to make it 11 for 1.
Chettipalayam and Siddarth Kappa then scratched their way through a 75-run partnership to give USA a measure of respectability. Chettipalayam was confident with his driving through the off side and when bowlers overcorrected too short, he dispatched a pair of pulls to the leg-side boundary. He brought up his half-century off 76 balls with a paddled single through fine leg in the 21st
The partnership came to an end in the 24th
when Kappa tried to play a release shot searching for his first boundary, but only managed to pick out Rizwan at short midwicket for 18 to make it 86 for 2. Two overs later, Chettipalayam’s knock came undone for 57 via another sloppy runout. After flicking a length ball off an inside edge into short midwicket, Chettipalayam set off for a single and new partner Ramesh initially responded in favor of the call before changing his mind upon seeing Rabby cover the ground quickly to his left. Chettipalayam tried to hastily turn back, but slipped in the process and Rabby capitalized on the lost footing with a sharp flick to the keeper Siddik, who took the bails off with Chettipalayam a foot short to be out for 57 with the score 91 for 3.
Ramesh tried to be positive in using his feet, but managed a sliced chip to Rafi’s spin that swirled behind the bowler and was taken by Shibli charging to his left from mid-off for 8 making it 112 for 4. USA’s best scoring moment of the day came courtesy of penalty runs ending the 38th
over. After a single stroked down the ground by Srivastava, Shibli relayed in to the bowler Rafi, who bizarrely decided to use his cap to catch the ball. It resulted in a five-run penalty, and six runs total for the delivery including the single off the bat.
Srivastava scored a pair of conventional boundaries in the following two overs, breaking a streak of 20 overs without a boundary when Chettipalayam did so in the 18th
. They wound up being USA’s only boundaries of the match not scored by one of the two openers as Srivastava first shuffled across his stumps to scoop through fine leg in the 39th
before a slog over wide long-on in the 40th
. But the North Carolina allrounder fell one ball later trying to repeat the shot and instead scuffed a full delivery off the toe of the bat from Rabby to Jibon at midwicket to make it 153 for 5. That sparked a collapse of 6 for 17 to wrap up the USA innings.
Patel entered to start the 41st
but lasted just two balls, heaving Jibon to Rizwan at midwicket who leaped to take a sharp catch. Amogh Arepally made 14 before an attempted cut shot was well held by Siddik standing up to the stumps for Rabby’s spin to make it 158 for 7. Rabby found himself on a hat-trick ball in the 44th
after trapping Nadkarni defending down the wrong line to an arm ball for a five-ball duck before Subramanian couldn’t get his bat down in time to a quicker ball that bowled him for a golden duck to make it 163 for 9. Bhalala was last man out for 12, unable to keep out a yorker from Emon on the first ball of the 48th
Rabby finished with 4 for 31 in ten overs while fellow spinners Jibon (1 for 26 in ten), Rafi (1 for 42 in ten) and Ariful (1 for 15 in five) also chipped in. Emon’s 1 for 10 in 4.1 overs wound up as the only wicket taken by a pacer as Maruf Mridha, who bowled impressively against both India and Ireland, was used sparingly and finished with 0 for 22 in four overs.
USA’s final match of Group A is against India on Sunday morning in Bloemfontein. India has already secured a spot in the Super Sixes stage following wins against Ireland and Bangladesh while USA would need an unlikely win to have any chance of reaching the Super Sixes ahead of Ireland.