England coasted to a seven-wicket victory over fellow Group C heavyweights Bangladesh at the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup, riding on the back of a century from their captain, Harry Brook, and his unbroken 128-run stand with Euan Woods (48 off 57).
Woods also returned 3/26 in the first innings, including the crucial wickets of Afif Hossain (63) and Aminul Islam (31) – the two had staged a Bangladesh recovery with a 94-run stand for the fifth wicket after their side was reduced to 27/4, with Ethan Bamber returning 3/19.
Victory means England have a foot in the quarter-finals of the tournament, although a very specific set of results could still them fail to qualify. But that is an extremely far-fetched scenario.
After opting to bat, Bangladesh found Bamber and Dillon Pennington in incredible form: they were incisive and disciplined in their opening spell, and the Bangladesh batsmen just weren’t afforded the time to settle in.
Pennington had Pinak Ghosh (4) trapped in front in as early as the second over, pitching it on leg stump and striking him plumb. Bamber had Bangladesh captain Saif Hassan (1) paying a rather rash shot in the next over, and he followed that up with the dismissal of Mohammed Naim Sheikh (1) after inducing an edge.
Tawhid Hridoy (12), who scored a big century against Canada in his previous outing, then looked to lead a recovery, threading a couple of fours, but Bamber steamed one into his pads for his third wicket. At 27/4, Bangladesh faced a real risk of being bundled out for a two-digit score.
However, Hossain and Aminul got together and staged a fine recovery. They first steered clear of anything too risky, stonewalling as much as possible, and after the first drinks they began putting away the occasional boundaries. Soon, the frequency of runs increased, and the pressure slowly shifted back on to England – they needed to break this stand before it caused severe damage.
They did so in the 32nd over, via the off-spin of Woods. Within three deliveries, he drew an edge off Aminul, and went through Hossain to clatter his stumps. Nayeem Hasan and Qazi Onik followed suit in quick succession, but Bangladesh’s tail had life in it. Mahidul Islam Ankon (20) and Hasan Mahmud (23) resisted England long enough to boost the total.
The Bangladesh bowlers started the second innings well, doing their best to make a fight of it. England were reduced to 19/2 with Tom Banton (9) falling to Qazi Onik in the fourth over, and Savin Perera (7) following suit three overs later, when he edged Mahmud to Tipu Sultan. Will Jacks joined Brook in the middle, and the two attempted to stage a revival, with Brook doing most of the early scoring. However, Jacks lasted just ten deliveries before falling to Nayeem, and England were reduced to 49/3.
England were getting the runs, and getting them quickly, but the wickets were hurting them significantly. However, with Woods joining Brook in the middle, Bangladesh were batted out of the game. Woods rode his luck and was dropped twice, but Brook didn’t offer Bangladesh any such favours. His was a chanceless innings during which he displayed excellent timing and temperament. He used his feet well, especially to the spinners, getting to the pitch of the ball and forcing the bowlers to change their lengths.
He brought up his half-century off 56 balls, and promptly shifted gears – the century was brought up in just 28 further deliveries. He hammered sixes of off Sultan, Hassan and Mahmud, even as Woods inched closer to a half-century at the other end. Commendably, Woods yielded strike in what turned out to be the last over, sacrificing his own half-century for his captain’s ton.
Brook became the first England U19 captain to score a century at the ICC U19 CWC after Alastair Cook. We have here a definite future star.