Tigers reap reward playing fire with fire


Some aggression in body language and a cold smile on the face combined to help Bangladesh Under-19 team overcome the hurdle of India in the recent World Cup final, players told reporters on Thursday before they travelled for respective district.

Bangladesh stunned four-time winners India in the final on Sunday in South Africa’s Potchefstroom to record a three-wicket victory but not before some fiery cricket that led to fracas at the end of the match.

Members of the victorious team, who returned to hero’s welcome on Wednesday, said they had little choice but to play fire with fire after some near misses against the same opponents for both senior and junior side in the recent past.

Bangladesh national team had had several heartbreaks against India in ICC and other multi-team events and junior side also faced the same agony in a tri-nation final in England and Under-19 Asia Cup final in Sri Lanka last year.

The players were aware about India’s both quality and dominant behaviour and decided to counter it from the word goes in their maiden final in the ICC Under-19 World Cup final.

Skipper Akbar Ali was perhaps one rare exception, who had to check his emotion in a crunch situation and offer India rather a cold smile in the face of repeated sledging, which earned him big return.

‘I read somewhere smiling is the best revenge. The more they sledge us I try to laugh and give them opposite reaction,’ Akbar told reporters before leaving for his hometown Rangpur.

‘Everybody was excited but I tried to show my excitement in the field as little as possible…I try to hide my feeling in front of everybody,’ said Akbar, who scored an unbeaten 43 after Bangladesh were reduced to 85-5.

While Akbar kept his cool to lead Bangladesh to a historic win, his team-mates showed necessary aggression to unnerve India and it all began from the very second over of the match when pacer Tanjim Hasan Sakib threw a ball at Indian opener Divayaansh Saxena.

Saxena, who played an anchor role in India’s 10-wicket win over Pakistan in the semi-final, played a defensive shot and was preparing to face the next ball when he noticed that the throw was coming at his direction.

He ducked to avoid getting hurt and gave a nervous look to the bowler, who did not concede any run in his first two overs and missed his third consecutive maiden overs owing to only a wide ball.

‘We lost the last two finals against India in Asia Cup and in England and we realised from those two matches that we must play an aggressive cricket against India,’ said Sakib before he travelled for his home in Sylhet’s Balaganj.

‘If we do not dominate them they will try to dominate us. Our team plan was that we will not let them dominate us from first ball and we will try to dominate them instead,’ said Sakib, who finished with 2-28.

‘The more space we gave them they will try to dominate us and this was our planning as we learnt our lesson from the last two losses,’ he said, describing Bangladesh’s strategy of playing against India looking at their eyes.

Sakib’s new-ball partner Shoriful Islam carried the same to the field. Some of his celebration, which showed him as if he was putting a demon in his pocket, also drew the attention of cricket fans.

Shoriful also could not check his adrenaline after the match and joined a scuffle that also earned him five demerit points.

‘Our team management told us to play with aggression against India and we wanted to apply that in the field. I always want to play with real aggression from my side,’ said Shoriful, already pampered by fans as Panchagar Express.

‘The celebration theme was to ask some people to shut up as it was our day,’ said Shoriful.


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