Unbeaten India start as overwhelming favourites but will have to guard against complacency against a tricky Bangladesh in the quarterfinals of the ICC U-19 World Cup on Friday. Three-time champions India were hardly tested in the league stage where they thumped Australia, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe to top Group B. They meet Bangladesh who finished second in Group C after the loss against England in their previous game. Both teams would be fresh going into the knockout fixture. Bangladesh faced England last Thursday while India completed a 10-wicket rout of Zimbabwe on Friday. When they take the field, India would also have in mind the loss they endured against Bangladesh that knocked them out of the Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur last November. However, key players like captain Prithvi Shaw did not take part in that tournament.
While Bangladesh played against England at the Queenstown Events Centre, India were based in Mount Maunganui through the league stage. It is worth mentioning that the last match here, the quarterfinal between England and Australia, was a low-scoring affair with Australia able to defend a meagre 127. England were shot out for 96 with leg-spinner Lloyd Pope picking up eight wickets. Both India and Bangladesh boast of players with first- class experience.
While six of India’s squad have played in Ranji Trophy, five Bangladesh players, who took the field against England, have featured in the National Cricket League back home. Left-arm spinner Anukul Roy has been the leading wicket-taker for India with 10 scalps while skipper Shaw and Shubman Gill have been among the runs. The batting, however, has not been tested fully so far as India’s two wins in the league stage came with a 10-wicket margin.
Injured pacer Ishan Porel might be able to return for the key game though India have enough fast-bowling firepower courtesy Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti. The highly-rated Indian batsmen will need to be wary of Bangladesh medium pacer Hasan Mahud and off-spinner Afif Hossain, who both have five wickets to their name in three appearances.
All-rounder Hossain has also made a significant contribution with the bat, scoring 124 runs at 41.33. Their leading run-getter has been number four Towhid Hridoy (134 runs), who smashed a match-winning 122 against Canada.
India: Prithvi Shaw (captain), Shubman Gill, Aryan Juyal, Abhishek Sharma, Arshdeep Singh, Harvik Desai, Manjot Kalra, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pankaj Yadav, Riyan Parag, Ishan Porel, Himanshu Rana, Anukul Roy, Shivam Mavi, Shiva Singh.
Bangladesh: Saif Hassan (captain), Afif Hossain, Aminul Islam, Hasan Mahmud, Mahidul Islam Ankon, Mohammad Naim, Mohammad Rakib, Nayeem Hasan, Pinak Ghosh, Qazi Onik, Robiul Hoque, Roni Hossen , Shakil Hossain, Tipu Sultan, Towhid Hridoy.
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