India defeated Bangladesh by 5 runs on the outstanding bowling performance of left-arm spinner Atharya Ankolekar who demolished the opposition with a five-wicket haul for just 28 runs from 8 overs in a low scoring but nail biting final at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
India defended a paltry total of 106 in 32.4 overs with 18-year old Ankolekar rising to the occasion as the Bangladeshis were undone by spin for 101 in 33 overs. Ankolokar found good support from pacer Akash Singh, who accounted for three wickets in curbing Bangladesh with V Patil (1/25) and S.S. Mishra (1/27) also chipping in with one wicket each.
Chasing a target of 107, skipper Akbar Ali (23) and Mrittunjoy Chowdhury (21) kept Bangladesh in the hunt, but with their dismissals Bangladesh found the going tough. Despite a rear guard effort by Tanzim Hasan Sakib (12) and Rakibul Hasan (11) which raised hopes of a Bangladesh, India fought back to bundle them out as Bangladesh lost their way against the spin-pace combination of Ankolekar and Singh.
India’s victory was built around a top score of 33 by skipper Dhruv Jurl and 37 by lower-order batsman Karan Lal which helped their side to cross the 100-mark. Bangladesh did reign in as India’s decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired as left-arm pacer Mrittunjoy Chowdhury (3/18) and off-spinner Shamim Hossain (3/8) wreaked havoc on the Indian batsmen. Opener Arjun Azad was the first to depart caught behind by Akbar Ali off Tanzim Hasan Sakib’s bowling in the third over. In the next over, N.T. Tilak Varma was dismissed by Mrittunjoy with Tanzid Hasan taking another catch and after the other opener S.V. Parkar was run out India were tottering on 8 for 3 when Shashwat Rawat (19) and skipper Jurel then rallied the innings bringing up the team 50 before the former was trapped leg-before by Hossain in the 15th over.Two balls later, Varun Lavande (0) was dismissed for naught by Hossain as India lost half their side for 53 for five in 14.4 overs.
Atharva Ankolekar was then run-out for 2 in the 20th over, while Hossain accounted for Jurel in the next over in see sawing final as India precipitated before their bowlers made amends.
India 106 All out (32.4 Overs) (Karan Lal 37, Dhruv Jurl 33, Mrittunjoy Chowdhury 3/18), Shamim Hossain 3/8)
Bangladesh 101 All out (33 Overs) (Akbar Ali (23) and Mrittunjoy Chowdhury 21, Atharya Ankolekar 5/28)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-