Afghanistan Under-19 team finished the series on a high as they upstaged Bangladesh Under-19 in an absolute humdinger of a match in Sylhet. The visitors won the low-scoring thriller by three wickets with three balls to spare. Bangladesh had already sealed the five-match youth ODI series by winning the first three matches but Afghanistan bounced back strongly in the next two matches.
Chasing a small target of 156, Afghanistan were well-placed at 73 for two in the 21st over. But Bangladesh bowlers got breakthroughs at regular intervals and restricted them to 106 for six.
But Afghanistan captain Ijaz Ahmad and Izharulhaq Naveed recorded a valuable partnership of 43 for the seventh wicket to bring Afghanistan closer to the total. Ijaz got out in the last ball of the penultimate over and Afghanistan then required seven off the last over to win.
Bangladesh skipper Meherob threw the ball to Ashiqur Zaman, Bangladesh's most successful bowler of the match. But the fast bowler bowled a full toss and Naveed smashed it for a six to level the scores. Naveed struck the winning runs in the third ball of the over. Naveed was unbeaten on 29. Ijaz made 32. The top-scorer for Afghanistan in the match was wicketkeeper batter Ishaq Zazai with 52.
Earlier, batting first, the hosts started decently with the bat. Bangladesh openers- Mahfijul Islam and Iftikher Hossain- added 48 off 12.2 overs before the former was pinned leg before by Nangeyalia Kharote. After that, Bilal Sami struck twice in no time and Bangladesh lost Ariful Islam and Iftikher in the space of two runs. Iftikher scored 26.
Bangladesh vice-captain Aich Mollah, who notched up a brilliant hundred in the series opener, failed to register substantial scores in the next three matches. He walked out to bat when the team was in trouble but couldn't get going. The right-hander played 15 balls but didn't manage to score more than two runs.
The visitors had Bangladesh six down halfway through the innings and they required someone to stick around so that they could give the bowlers something to bowl at. Abdullah Al Mamun had some very good contributions in the series and his patient 82-ball-37 helped Bangladesh cross 150. Mamun stitched a 47-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Naimur Rohman.
The home side was bundled out for 155 in 47.4 overs. Kharote picked up a three-for. Pacer Bilal Sami claimed three scalps as well. Naveed and Shahidullah Hasani took a couple as well.
Bangladesh took the five-match series 3-2.