Kolkata, Nov 24: Sundar Washington produced an all-round show to help India cruise to a four-wicket win over Bangladesh, their third win in as many matches, and book a final berth in the Under-19 Tri-series one-day cricket tournament here today.
Chasing a modest 223, India were given a flying start by openers Rishabh Pant (51 off 26 balls; 9x4, 2x6) and Ishan Kishan (24 off 14 balls; 2x4, 2x6) who together put on 67 from 33 balls before Bangladesh triggered a collapse after the latter was run-out following a mix-up.
From 67 for no loss, India were reduced to 116/4 in 21.2 overs but the duo of Sundar (50) and Amandeep Khare (41) held the innings together in a 69-run partnership to set up the home side's victory with nine balls to spare at Jadavpur University second campus ground.
Batting at number six, Sundar, who opened the innings in the first two matches, showed perfect control and played to the merit of the ball. The 16-year-old Chennai youngster held the Indian innings together before getting out after a patient 50 from 75 balls (6x4).
"It's the most important position but I knew there was no extraordinary thing needed and had to bat normally. I was confident and went with a positive mindset," Sundar said.
Asked on coach Rahul Dravid's influence on the team, he said: "He's giving positive vibes to everyone. It's great to have a legend like him as the coach."
The left-hander Sundar who bowls off-spin also took 2/25 from his six overs to be the top Indian wicket taker to restrict Bangladesh to 222/7 in 50 overs after batting first.
India now have 13 points from three matches to seal their berth in the Sunday's summit clash, while Bangladesh have five points by virtue of a win. In their last league match tomorrow, Bangladesh will take on Afghanistan who are ye to to open their account.
Bangladesh's innings revolved around their skipper Mehedi Hasan Miraz's stellar 87 from 90 balls (10x4, 2x6) to guide them to 222/7.
Having been bowled out for 76 in their first match against India, the visitors were off to a watchful start and were 22 for no loss in 10 overs before left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar gave the breakthrough in his second over.
Bangladesh were soon reduced to 47/3 in 18.1 overs with off-spinner Sundar giving twin blows in his first spell of 5-1-17-2 to return with 2/25 from six overs.
It was the Bangladeshi skipper who stood tall at the other end and took the score past 150 with 63 and 44 runs partnerships with Jaker Ali Anik (16) and Mohammad Shaifuddin (30) respectively. India made eight changes to their line-up including that of skipper Ricky Bhui as Jharkhand's Virat Singh led the side.
Brief Scores: Bangladesh Under-19: 222/7 in 50 overs (Mehedi Hasan Miraz 87; Sundar Washington 2/25) lost to India Under-19 223/6 in 48.3 overs (Rishabh Pant 51, Sundar 50; Mehedi Hasan 2/50) by four wickets.