U-19 World Cup: Bangladesh take on Windies in semis

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Mirpur, Feb 10 (IANS) Bangladesh will face a stiff test when it clashes against a strong West Indian side in the second semi-final of the Under-19 cricket World Cup here on Thursday.

Riding on some superb performance and support of home fans, Bangladesh has delivered consistently in familiar conditions to join India as the only unbeaten teams in the 16-nation tournament.

Mehidy Hasan’s young boys have already earned the distinction of becoming the first Bangladesh team at any level to reach the semi-finals of a world event.

Bangladesh earlier defeated Nepal by six wickets after a tense match to storm into the semis, giving the nation its maiden appearance in the last four of a world event.

On the other hand, the West Indies team had endured a roller-coaster ride over the past two weeks to step closer to a shot at the title that has eluded it so far.

Skipper Shimron Hetmyer and Tevin Imlach hit half-centuries as they shocked Pakistan by five wickets to cruise into the semis.

The West Indies entered the final when the tournament was held for the only other time in Bangladesh in 2004, losing by 25 runs to Pakistan, a team it stunned in the quarter-final on Monday.

A win for the hosts over the West Indies will steer them into its maiden final where three-time champion India is waiting for the title clash in Mirpur on Sunday.

The West Indies coach Graeme West said his wards understood the challenge ahead, but were keen to prove themselves in the biggest game of their lives so far.

“Clearly the challenges of playing in Bangladesh are different from those in the Caribbean. We recognise the significance of the game. Bangladesh has some of the finest under-19 players in the world. We realise we are not taking on just 11 players, but an entire nation,” West said before the match on Wednesday.

Bangladesh coach Mizanur Rahman insisted his team will not be affected by the expectations of home fans.

“From the very beginning we have tried to instill in the boys the fact that the World Cup games should be treated as any other match,” Mizanur said.

“You take one game at a time. You do the processes right and be the better side on the day and you become successful. We do not want them to think about the pressure of playing in front of a big crowd or the fact it is a semi-final or a final,” the coach added.

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