A taut, final round of group B games in Abu Dhabi saw Afghanistan and Australia progress to the quarter-finals of the ICC U19 World Cup, at the expense of Bangladesh. Until very late in the proceedings on Wednesday (February 19), three sides had a chance to go through.
But Australia ultimately beat Bangladesh by 74 runs and coupled with Afghanistan’s storming four-wicket win over Namibia – with just under half its overs to spare – the results contrived to put Bangladesh out. Bangladesh ended up on four points – the same as Australia and Afghanistan – but with a lower net run-rate.
Australia will now face West Indies in its quarterfinal match on Sunday in Dubai.
Having been in the driver’s seat as the day began with two wins out of two, that loss and elimination hit Bangladesh hard.
The pain will not be eased by the knowledge that it mostly had itself to blame. Bangladesh, who chose to bowl, had reduced Australia to 61 for 4 at one stage, before a Jake Doran-inspired recovery allowed the side to put up 244 for 6. Doran was dropped on 38 but his unbeaten 99 stabilised the innings, and a last-over blitz by Tom Andrews (18 off 6 balls) that yielded 21 runs ensured the innings ended on a high.
Then, in the chase Bangladesh was comfortably placed at 128 for 2 and with nearly 18 overs left, looked to be coasting. Around the same time, next door at the Nursery Oval, Afghanistan had romped home to its target of 193 against Namibia in 25.3 overs, which assured it second place in the group.
The effect of that on net run-rates within the group meant that Bangladesh could afford to lose and still go through: had it reached 231 and not the victory target of 245, it would have gone through ahead of Australia.
But panic set in once Shadman Islam was run out on 49. Australia’s bowlers sniffed it and pounced, the last eight wickets falling in a heap for just 42 runs in ten overs. Bangladesh was eventually bowled out for 170 in 42 overs.
Doran’s innings was a patient one, and in true Australian fashion, he was not worried about not getting the hundred as long as the team won. It was also the fruits of working with Greg Chappell and Graeme Hick in the coaching staff, as well as a preparatory tour to Sri Lanka before coming here. He played it as people remind him to keep playing it: simply.