DUBAI: Bangladesh gave the Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2016 a momentous start with a 43-run victory over defending champion South Africa in Wednesday’s opening Group A match.
In a Group C fixture at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong, Dan Lawrence and Jack Burnham hit centuries as title contender England brushed aside Fiji by 299 runs.
Bangladesh, which elected to bat on a slow pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, lost wickets just when the batsmen appeared to have settled down and was restricted to 240 for seven in its 50 overs.
Nazmul Hossain hit 73 off 82 balls to boost the total after useful contributions from Pinak Ghosh (43) and Joyraz Sheik (46).
The target proved too tough for South Africa, which was bowled out for 197 in the penultimate over despite a defiant 100 from opener Liam Smith.
Smith batted till the 45th over before being the seventh batsman out, caught superbly in the covers by Bangladesh captain Mehidy Hasan.
Mehidy, leading his nation in the second successive U19 Cricket World Cup, picked up three for 37 with his off-spin. Seamer Mohammad Saifuddin took three for 30.
It was Bangladesh’s first win over South Africa in the ICC U19 World Cup following four previous defeats, but Wednesday’s victory was its 12th in 15 matches against the same opponents over the past two years.
With Scotland and Namibia the other sides in the group home team’s victory makes it the favourite to secure top place from Group A and avoid a possible quarter-final clash against Rahul Dravid-coached India.
In their next matches in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday, Bangladesh will take on Scotland while South Africa will face Namibia.
The 11th edition of the biennial 16-nation tournament features nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate Members – Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Nepal, Ireland and Scotland.
Teams have been divided into four groups with the top two in each advancing to the Super League quarter-finals and the other two qualifying for the Plate championships.