After rain hit Potchefstroom earlier in the morning, everyone thought it to be a game of seamers. Instead, Bangladeshi Under 19 spinners left the New Zealand Under 19 batters in a spin in the early overs. They kept their splendid performance going throughout the innings but a late flourish from the young Blackcaps took them to 211-8 in the second semi-final of the ICC Under 19 World Cup.
Bangladesh U-19 now require 212 runs to make history as no other Bangladesh U-19 side had managed to reach the final.
Winning the toss, the skipper of the young Tigers, Akbar Ali opted to field first. His decision was encouraged by the rain early on as there was a bit of moisture on the pitch.
Seamer Shoriful Islam bowled a brilliant spell of fast-bowling upfront but it was off-spinner Shamim Hossain who handed Bangladesh the first breakthrough. Rhys Mariu was gone in the second over for just 1 as he was caught at slip by Tanzid off Shamim.
Ollie White and Fergus Lellman survived the initial storm but runs were scarce. White's hard-fought battle came to an end when left-arm spinner Raqibul Hasan got the better off him as White was caught behind for 18 off 43 deliveries.
The Bangladeshi bowlers kept the New Zealand run-rate on a leash as they lost two more wickets within the 26th over. Shamim got his second in Lellman as Mahmudul grabbed a brilliant catch at short mid-wicket before Hasan Morad disturbed Blackcaps skipper Jesse Tashkoff's stumps in the 26th over.
But Nicholas Lidstone and Beckham Wheeler-Greenall put up a valuable stand of 67 runs to set a foundation before Shariful and Morad struck in consecutive overs to reduce New Zealand to 142-6. Lidstone missed a full toss from Shariful to get trapped LBW and Morad rattled Quinn Sunde's stumps to send him back.
Meanwhile, Wheeler-Greenall picked up his fifty off 63 deliveries. Shariful struck again in the 46th over to clatter Kristian Clarke as the batsman failed to connect a big shot.
Joey Field struck Shoriful for a six and a four in the 48th over. But Shariful had the last laugh as Field was caught at deep cover as New Zealand were reduced to 184-8.
Wheeler-Greenall and Adithya Ashok picked up 19 in the last over off Shariful to take New Zealand to a fighting score of 211-8.
Despite giving away 19 in the last over, Shariful Islam was the pick of the Bangladeshi bowlers as he picked up three wickets for 45. Morad and Shamim picked up a couple each whereas Raqibul picked up the other wicket.