India vs Bangladesh, India U19, Bangladesh U19, U19 Asia Cup, Atharva Ankolekar, Akash Singh
Defending 106, left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar was the star of the show pocketing five wickets as Bangladesh were bowled out for 101. @ Twitter

India U19 retained the Under-19 Asia Cup after a thrilling five-run victory over Bangladesh U19 at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

Defending 106, left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar was the star of the show pocketing five wickets as Bangladesh were bowled out for 101. Ankolekar was backed by left-arm pacer Akash Singh who picked three as the duo were the major wreckers-in-chief in the low-scoring final.

With their successful title defense, India have cliched the trophy for the seventh time.

Opting to bat, the defending champions were reduced to 8/3 as early as the sixth over. Arjun Azad, who has been in good form throughout the tournament, departed to Tanzim Hasan Sakib without troubling the scorers. No. 3 batsman Tilak Verma followed quickly as he was dismissed by left-arm pacer Mrittunjoy Chowdhury for 2. Suved Parker was run out for 4.

Shashwat Rawat and Varun Lavande then steadied the innings with a 45-run partnership for the fourth wicket. However, just the duo were beginning to accelerate, offspinner Shamim Hossain trapped Rawat (19) lbw.

Wickets kept tumbling quickly and had it not been for some gritty performances by Karan Lala (37 off 43) and captain Dhruv Jurel (33 off 57), India wouldn’t have been able to cross the three-digit mark. Jurel, who tonked two boundaries and a solitary six, was given marching orders by Hossain, while Lal – the last wicket of the innings – fell to Chowdhury. He smashed three boundaries and a six.

Both Hossain and Chowdhury did most of the damage. The former returned with exquisite figures of 3/8 in his 6 overs, while Chowdhury, who also pocketed 3 wickets, went for 18 runs in 7.4 overs.

Defending the low target, India were spot on with their bowling. Akash struck in the fourth ball of the very first over removing Tanzid Hasan for a duck. Parvez Hossain Emon added just 5 before he was dismissed by fast bowler Vidyadhar Patil.

Akash then accounted for the next two wickets — Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudul Hasan Joy – with the duo scoring nought and 1 respectively. Ankolekar then stole the show from his partner dismissing the next three players — Shahadat Hossain (3), Shamim Hossain (7) and Akbar Ali (23) – in a span of 10 overs.

Chowdhury, who did the job with the ball, played a stubborn knock that yielded 21 off 26 which was ended by Sushant Mishra.

Ankolekar then returned to knock off the last two wickets — Tanzim Hasan Sakib (12) and Shahin Alam (0) – as India completed a successful title defense.

Ankolekar, who returned with a five-wicket haul, went for just 28 runs in his 8 overs, while Akash’s 5 overs yielded just 12 runs.

This is the lowest total successfully defended by any team in youth ODIs. The previous record was 107 by Nepal against Kenya in a 46-over game in 2000 U19 CWC.

Brief scores: India U19 106 all out in 32.4 overs (Karan Lal 37, Dhruv Jurel 33; Shamim Hossain 3/8, Mrittunjoy Chowdhury 3/18) beat Bangladesh U19 101 all out in 33 overs (Akbar Ali 23; Atharva Ankolekar 5/28, Akash Singh 3/12) by 3 wickets