Basseterre (St Kitts), Jan 17 | Bangladesh’s title defence in the Under-19 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup was off to the worst possible start with the side led by Rakibul Hasan suffering a crushing seven-wicket defeat at the hands of England in Group A at the Warner Park here on Monday (IST).
The defending champions could not negotiate the pace of the England bowlers, especially 17-year-old left-arm quick Joshua Boyden, as they were reduced to 51/9 in the 25th over. Bangladesh’s innings finally folded up for 97 in 35.2 overs, with England notching up the runs with nearly 25 overs to spare.
No.11 Ripon Mondol hit an unbeaten 33 in a spirited last-wicket stand of 46 with Naimur Rohman (11) to drag Bangladesh up to 97, but they were still dismissed with the best part of 15 overs going to waste.
In reply, England lost opener George Thomas and captain Tom Prest but Jacob Bethell and James Rew put on 65 before the former was run out just shy of the finish line as England cruised to victory.
Bangladesh skipper Rakibul Hasan was part of the side that lifted the trophy in South Africa in 2020 and elected to bat after winning the toss. Seamer Joshua Boyden had openers Mahfijul Islam (3) and Ariful Islam (4) caught behind by wicket-keeper Alex Horton and Bangladesh were reeling at seven for three in the eighth over when James Sales got in on the act as No.3 Prantik Nawrose Nabil departed without scoring to give Horton his third victim.
William Luxton ran out Md Fahim to make it eight for four before first-change bowler Thomas Aspinwall got his reward for running in and hitting the deck hard when he had Ashiqur Zaman caught by Luxton for nine.
Left-arm spinner Fateh Singh picked up his first scalp of the tournament when Aich Mollah was caught by Sales for 13 to leave Bangladesh 31 for six in the 17th over. They then belatedly brought up their half-century before losing three wickets for just one run.
Horton took his tally to six catches behind the stumps as Aspinwall took his second wicket and Boyden picked up two more as he recorded impressive figures of four for 16 from nine overs.
Ripon’s counter-attacking 33 included five fours and a six as the tailender added some respectability to the Bangladesh total.
England got off to a nervy start with the bat as Bethell survived a run-out scare when SM Meherob could not gather the ball at the stumps with only five on the board.
He survived a close lbw appeal off Ashiqur shortly after before opening partner Thomas began to up the ante after a cautious start. But having hit three fours, Thomas perished for 15 when he miscued another attacking shot off Ripon to leave England 20 for one in the ninth over.
That breakthrough gave Bangladesh a small glimmer of hope but when the English captain Prest nicked one behind off his counterpart Rakibul for just four soon after, the game was very much on.
However, Rew joined Bethell and together they batted superbly, counteracting the Bangladesh spin attack to alleviate any potential English nerves.
England picked up two points to go top of Group A ahead of their match against Canada on Tuesday while Bangladesh will look to bounce back on January 20 against the same opponents, who lost to the UAE in their opener.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 97 in 35.2 overs (Ripon Mondol 33 not out; Joshua Boyden 4/16, Thomas Aspinwall 2/18, Fateh Singh 1/29) lost to England 98/3 in 25.1 overs (Jacob Bethell, James Rew 26 not out) by seven wickets.