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27 January 201616:11

Bangladesh U19 scores despite Smith heroics

Defending champion South Africa U19 stumbles in campaign-opener, goes down by 43 runs

Liam Smith shrugged off a lean trot but the opener’s century wasn’t enough to prevent South Africa Under-19, the defending champion, from stumbling to a 43-run loss at the hands of Bangladesh Under-19 in a Group A match of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2016 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday (January 27).

Smith, who had scored exactly 100 runs in six games prior to the World Cup, warm-ups included, drew an outline for South Africa to work with by making a patient 146-ball 100 in pursuit of 241, but the three-time finalist was outplayed thoroughly with both bat and ball to suffer its first defeat against Bangladesh in the competition. South Africa was bowled out for 197 from 48.4 overs after Bangladesh, opting to bat first, had made 240 for 7.

With the bat, it was a combination of Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Pinak Ghosh and Joyraz Sheik which threw a spanner in South Africa’s works. Nazmul, the 18-year-old who showcased his skill during the warm-ups with a century against Zimbabwe Under-19, was the pick of the batsmen for Bangladesh with an 82-ball 73. Pinak made 43 from 51 balls and Joyraz came up with 46 from 50, the duo responsible for resuscitating Bangladesh after it lost Saif Hassan with just 30 on board.

With the ball, there was little Bangladesh got wrong as its spin-focussed attack harried the South Africans from the start. Mehedi Hasan Miraz, the skipper, kicked things off by dismissing Kyle Verreynne with the score on five.

Mohammad Saifuddin, the medium-pacer, then got into the act and got rid of Wiaan Mulder, who had picked up three wickets earlier in the day, and Tonde de Zorzi, the skipper, in quick succession. In no time, South Africa was down five batsmen with just 112 runs on board. But as long as Smith was at the crease, it still harboured hopes of making a match of it.

Those hopes were snuffed out when Smith became the first scalp for Saleh Ahmed Shawon’s, the left-arm spinner. The tail wagged for a while longer but Bangladesh’s bowlers continued to attack relentlessly to shut out all escape routes for South Africa.

Mehedi, the offspinner, finished with 3 for 37, while Saifuddin returned 3 for 30. Saeed Sarkar and Shawon bagged a couple of wickets apiece.