Cape Town - Hosts Bangladesh gave the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2016 a momentous start with a 43-run victory over defending champions South Africa in Wednesday’s opening Group A match.
Bangladesh, who elected to bat on a slow pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, lost wickets at regular intervals and were restricted to 240/7 in their 50 overs.
Nazmul Hossain hit 73 off 82 balls to boost the total after useful contributions from Pinak Ghosh (43) and Joyraz Sheik (46).
The target proved too tough for South Africa, who was bowled out for 197 in the penultimate over despite a defiant 100 from opener Liam Smith.
Smith batted until the 45th over before being the seventh batsman out, caught superbly in the covers by Bangladesh captain Mehidy Hasan.
Mehidy, leading his nation in the second successive Under-19 Cricket World Cup, picked up 3-37 with his off-spin. Seamer Mohammad Saifuddin took 3-30.
It was Bangladesh’s first win over South Africa in the Under-19 World Cup following four previous defeats, but Wednesday’s victory was their 12th in 15 matches against the same opponents over the past two years.
With Scotland and Namibia the other sides in the group, Bangladesh's victory makes them favourites to secure top place from Group A and avoid a possible quarter-final clash against the Rahul Dravid-coached India.
Nazmul Hossain, who was named man of the match, said the slow wicket made their total a challenging target.
“The ball was not coming on to the bat, so we thought it was a good total,” said Nazmul.
“I just wanted to bat as long as possible and hold one end up. But I was still a bit disappointed that we could not get another 20-odd runs.”
Nazmul insisted his team will not relax after beating South Africa.
“We can’t afford to relax or lose focus,” he said.
“We have just put one game away but we must concentrate on the next match and then the next. In a tournament like this there is no room for comfort.”
South African captain Tony de Zorzi said Smith’s century was a great positive to come out from what was a disappointing defeat for his side.
"I think Smith played superbly,” said de Zorzi.
“240 was certainly not a bad total to be chasing, but we did not have wickets in hand. We lost the game in the second half. Hopefully we will do better in the next match.”
In their next matches in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday, Bangladesh will take on Scotland while South Africa will face Namibia.
The 11th edition of the biennial 16-nation tournament features the nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate Members - Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Nepal, Ireland and Scotland.
Teams have been divided into four groups with the top two in each advancing to the Super League quarter-finals and the other two qualifying for the Plate championships.