Coolidge (Antigua), Jan 29 (PTI) Left-arm seamer Ravi Kumar bowled a sensational opening spell as India’s ‘class of 2022’ exacted a sweet revenge, ousting defending champions Bangladesh by five wickets to enter the semi-final of ICC U-19 World Cup here on Saturday.
India will meet Australia in the semi-final on February 2, having won an unprecedented seven out of nine U-19 World Cup quarter-finals.
Son of a CRPF personnel, the Uttar Pradesh-born Ravi, who has followed footsteps of his illustrious state senior Mohammed Shami to ply his trade for Bengal, ended with excellent figures of 7-1-14-3 on a tacky track as Bangladesh were all out for 111 in 37.1 overs.
Bangladesh were 56 for 7 at one stage before SM Mehrob (30) and Ashiqur Zaman (16) added 50 for the eighth wicket to take the team past 100-run mark.
In reply, India chased down the target in 30.5 overs with opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi’s 44 being the top-score.
Skipper Yash Dhull scored a chiselled 20 not out and his deputy Shaik Rasheed making 26 as the victory was even more satisfying considering the youngsters came back without any training post recovery from COVID-19.
It was a fitting reply from the ‘Boys in Blue’ to the ‘Tiger Cubs’ after their senior batch lost an ill-tempered final of 2020 edition which was followed by boorish behaviour from both sides, especially Bangladeshis, whose reactions has always been over the top when it came to beating India.
For the current batch, the win was also necessary after they were beaten twice by this same side last year during a four-nation meet in Kolkata.
India won a good toss and Ravi made full use of the moisture underneath with initial movement in the air helping team’s cause.
Ravi, who has the natural ability to bring the ball back into right-handers, had right-handed Mahfijul Islam (2) beaten all-ends up to an inswinger in the second over.
His opening partner left-handed Iftakher Hossain (1) was done in by the slowness of the track as he tried to square cut and was held at point by vice-captain Shaikh Rasheed.
One drop batter Prantik Nawrose (7) was not at all comfortable during his stay and was late into the drive to a delivery that swung away only to offer a catch to Kaushal Tamble in the slips.
Down at 14 for 3 in the eighth over, there was no coming back for Bangladesh boys as they started losing wickets at regular intervals.
Left-arm spinner Vicky Ostwal (9-1-25-2) was consistent as ever with his flight and dip which was not very easy for the opposition batters.
However if anyone deserves the credit for restricting Bangladesh to a manageable total, it is Ravi, who till few months back, was another outstation cricketer, plying his trade in Kolkata club cricket.
The 18-year-old had his share of twists and turns before he became the pace spearhead for India colts in the tournament.
In fact, talking to officials in Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), it was learnt that left-arm pacer who played for Ballygunge United had come for U-16 Bengal trials in 2019 but was rejected after he failed to clear the TW3 (Bone test for age verification) test.
However a good CAB T20 league tournament for Kanchenjungha Warriors got him into Bengal U-19 reckoning as former India opener and national selector Devang Gandhi and assistant coach (bowling) Jayanta GHosh Dastidar worked with him.
In fact, when Vinoo Mankad (U-19) National One Dayers was being held, the grapevine is that the feelers sent from local state association was to watch out Ravi’s pace bowling partner Debopratim Halder, who was considered a better prospect.
But national selectors’ attention was caught by Ravi, who was then inducted into the India U19 Challengers Squad.
“He is a very hardworking boy and if you ask me, Devang worked a lot on his mental aspect. Also his biggest asset is the ability to get the ball to swing in to the right handers.
“That is his stock delivery and he works that ball a lot in the nets,” GHosh Dastidar, who was a student of Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation’s first batch, alongside Javagal Srinath and Ashish Winston Zaidi, told PTI. PTI KHS AMS
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Source: The Print