Windies beat Bangladesh to enter U-19 World Cup final

Mirpur (Bangladesh), Feb 11 (IANS) Shamar Springer shone with an all-round performance as the West Indies broke Bangladeshi hearts with a thrilling three-wicket win in the semi-finals of the International Cricket Council (ICC) U-19 World Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here on Thursday.

Springer followed his 2/36 with an unbeaten 62 which steered the West Indies past the Bangladesh total of 226 all out with eight balls to spare in front of thousands of dejected home fans.

The West Indies, who had also reached the final when the tournament was staged in Bangladesh in 2004, will meet an undefeated India for the title here on Sunday. This will be the first-ever final between the two sides at the age-group level.

Electing to bat first after winning the toss in their first ever semi-final appearance in a world event, Bangladesh lost half their side for 113 runs before skipper Mehidy Hasan top-scored with 60, reviving the innings with an 85-run stand for the sixth wicket with Mohammad Saifuddin (36).

The West Indies lost wickets regularly to keep Bangladesh in the hunt till Springer built on skipper Shimron Hetmyer’s half-century to record a memorable victory.

Bangladesh, electing to bat on a misty morning, lost openers Pinak Ghosh and Saif Hassan by the seventh over to make it 27/2. They then slipped to 88/4 after star batsman Nazmul Hossain was dismissed for 11.

Mehidy hit seven boundaries in Saifuddin’s company before both batsmen fell off successive deliveries by seamer Keemo Paul. Mosabbek Hossain denied the bowler a hat-trick, but Paul finished with impressive figures of 3/20 from just three overs. Springer and Chemar Holder took two wickets apiece.

Gidron Pope provided the West Indies a swashbuckling start by taking 14 off the first over bowled by Mehidy before racing to 38 off 25 balls, which included five fours and a six.

Hetmyer took 16 deliveries to get off the mark before making a 59-ball 60 to lift his team to 147 for three in the 28th over.

West Indies moved to 177 for four, needing just 50 more runs in 13 overs, when left-arm spinner Saleh Ahmed turned the game around with two wickets in the 38th over.

Springer kept his end up and punished the loose balls before ending the match with two consecutive boundaries through the covers off Saifuddin.

“It’s a great feeling and an even better feeling to be in the final, a dream come true. It was quite a challenge out there, but I just backed myself to do well,” Springer said after the game.

Mehidy rued the lack of runs by the batsmen, but praised the team for giving the West Indies a good fight.

“It was a slow pitch, but 226 was not enough,” the Bangladesh captain said. “But I am happy with the way the team fought till the end. Till the last boundary, we thought we could win it.

“We are disappointed that we could not give our fans a win, but our biggest achievement was to reach the semi-finals for the first time. We will still try to finish third in the tournament,” he said.

Brief scores: Bangladesh Under-19s 226 (Mehedi Hasan Miraz 60, Keemo paul 3/23); West Indies Under-19s 230/7 (Shamar Springer not out 62, Saleh Ahmed Shawon 3/37)

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