A tussle or two, a few sledging episodes here and there, an animated send-off, a stern look, and a few words are nothing new in an India vs Bangladesh cricket match nowadays. In the last few years, India and Bangladesh have dished out some heated matches on the world stage which has even spilled over on social media. Who can forget the duel between Virat Kohli and Rubel Hossain that started in the 2011 World Cup and continued until the 2015 version of the ICC event? Or How Mushfiqur Rahim celebrated prematurely in a virtual quarter-final against India in the T20 World Cup in 2016? There has been dispute over umpiring decisions too like the Rohit Sharma no-ball in the 2015 World Cup or the Litton Das stumping in the 2018 Asia Cup.
The tension is not limited to the senior teams. The U19 teams of India and Bangladesh were involved in an ugly fight after the 2020 World Cup final. There was a fresh chapter to the fierce rivalry during the semi-final of the India A vs Bangladesh A in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2023 on Friday in Colombo.
Tension started to brew when a few of the Indian batters were given animated send-offs by the Bangladeshi bowlers and fielders. Bangladesh pacer Tanzim Hasan Sakib, who was also a part of the U19 team that was involved in a spat with Indian players in 2020, gave an unnecessary send-off to India A all-rounder Riyan Parag after getting him bowled. The celebration of some of the wickets was a bit over the top, to say the least. However, there was no face-off as none of the India A batters retaliated.
It was only when it was India A’s turn to field that they slowly started to bring the aggression out. It was business as usual until Bangladesh openers Mohammad Naim Sheikh and Tanzid Hasan were going all guns blazing. Things started to change when India spinners led by Manav Suthra jumped into action and got a couple of quick wickets.
Abhishek Sharma and Nishant Sindhu too joined in the action and things got heated when the India fielders gave a send-off to the experienced Soumya Sarkar, who has represented Bangladesh in 149 matches, was given a send-off.
It happened in the 26th over of Bangladesh A’s chase. Off-spinner Yuvrajsinh Dodiya got one to grip and turn. Sarkar got a good stride forward but was done in by the turn. The ball hit his pad and then his bat and went towards the first slip area where Nikin Jose took a brilliant diving catch.
After the umpire raised his finger, the India A close-in fielders started celebrating the wicket wildly. A few words were also said to Sarkar, who stood his ground in disbelief. At that moment, Harshit Rana was seen mouthing some words to Sarkar and gesturing him to go back to the pavilion.
VIDEO: Soumya Sarkar, Harshit Rana have a go at each other in India A vs Bangladesh Emerging Asia Cup match, umpires intervene
The veteran all-rounder did not like that. He confronted Rana, who turned around and signaled Sarkar to leave. The other India A fielders joined in as Sarkar took a few steps towards Rana. The umpires intervened before the matter escalated further.
After that, Sarkar was seen walking up to the umpires to ask why he was given out. After confirmation, he walked back shaking his head.
Bangladesh had India on the ropes, bundling them out for 211, a total made possible by captain Yash Dhull’s impressive 66 off 85 balls.
But, the Indian spinners made use of the slightly tacky pitch to pack Bangladesh off for 160 to celebrate a fine victory.
Left-arm spinner Nishant Sindhu accentuated Bangladesh’s fall with a five-wicket haul (5 for 20).
But the real protagonist for India’s victory was Dhull. He has been spoken about in the Indian domestic circuit as a player to be preserved in cotton wool, and the day’s innings showed the reason.
At 20, Dhull has a far more settled head on his shoulders. The Delhi youngster came to the middle when India were 75 for 2 in the 19th over.
Dhull immediately tackled a set of spot-on Bangladesh bowlers, who exploited a hint of turn to keep the shackles on Indian batters.
Most of them fell in their attempt to step on the gas, and the responsibility of pushing Indian innings fell on the shoulders of Dhull.
He handled the pressure with aplomb too. Overall, Dhull batted for 30 overs in the match and he was the last man to be dismissed in the 50th over.
Dhull and Manav Suther added 41 runs for the eighth wicket to carry India close to the 200-run mark, which they eventually managed to go past