POTCHEFSTROOM                   -             Mahmudul Hasan Joy ended his run of poor scores with his fourth Youth ODI century to secure Bangladesh’s maiden World Cup final–across levels and genders–for the Under-19 tournament against India on February 9. Joy’s hundred helped Bangladesh chase down 212 with six wickets in hand and nearly six overs to spare, after the bowlers restricted New Zealand to 211 for 8 in Potchefstroom.

Joy had a best score of 38* in his last eight innings and the early departure of Bangladesh’s openers on Thursday didn’t make things any easier for him. He still anchored the chase by striking 13 fours in his 127-ball innings of 100 and was assisted by No. 4 Towhid Hridoy, who made a brisk 47-ball 40, and the No. 5 Shahadat Hossain, who stayed unbeaten on 40. Captain Akbar Ali scored the winning runs with a drive past mid-on in front of a sizeable Bangladesh-supporting crowd that had come from cities near and far.

That Bangladesh chased a total under 250 was courtesy of their all-round bowling performance that continuously pegged New Zealand’s scoring rate. Asked to bat, New Zealand struggled with their tempo and if it wasn’t for Beckham Wheeler-Greenall’s 83-ball 75, they would have finished with a much smaller total, having been reduced to 142 for 6 at one point. Left-arm seamer Shoriful Islam took 3 for 45, right-arm quick Shamim Hossain ended with 2 for 31 and left-arm orthodox spinner Hasan Murad finished with 2 for 34 under overcast conditions in the morning.

The sun then baked the Senwes Park deck as the chase began, making batting much easier. Joy and Hridoy added 68 for the third wicket to take Bangladesh to 100. Once Hridoy was stumped off Adithya Ashok, Joy dominated a 101-run stand with Shahadat to take Bangladesh past 200. He reached his hundred by sweeping Jesse Tashkoff for four in the 43rd over but fell on the very next delivery by handing a return catch to the bowler.

Only 11 runs were left for Bangladesh then, and Ali finished the chase to send the crowd into a frenzy. Ali pumped his fist after hitting the winning runs while his team-mates from the dugout ran onto the field with the green-and-red Bangladesh flag to spark the celebrations off.

BRIEFS SCORES

Bangladesh 215 for 4 (Joy 100, Shahadat 40 not out) beat New Zealand 211 for 8 (Wheeler-Greenall 75, Lidstone 44, Islam 3-45, Shamim 2-31) by six wickets.