Chittagong: Hosts Bangladesh were off to a flying start in the Under-19 cricket World Cup tournament with a 43-run victory over defending champions South Africa in the opening Group A match here on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in a Group C fixture at the M.A. Aziz Stadium here, Dan Lawrence and Jack Burnham hit centuries as title contenders England brushed aside Fiji by 299 runs.
Bangladesh, who elected to bat on a slow pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here, lost wickets just when the batsmen appeared to have settled down and were restricted to 240/7 in 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 were bowled out for 197 in the penultimate over despite a defiant 100 from opener Liam Smith. Smith batted till 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 U-19 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 tournament 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, the home team's victory makes them the favourites to secure top place from Group A and avoid a possible quarter-final clash against Rahul Dravid-coached India.
Nazmul Hossain, named man-of-the-match, said the slow wicket made their total challenging.
"The ball was not coming on to the bat, so we thought it was a good total. 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," said Nazmul.
"We can't afford to relax or lose focus. 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."
In their next matches in Cox's Bazar on Sunday, Bangladesh will take on Scotland while South Africa will face Namibia.
Meanwhile, England piled up 371/3 against Fiji with Lawrence smashing 174 off 150 balls with 25 boundaries and a six, and Burnham making 148 off 137 balls with 19 fours and four sixes. The pair put on 303 for the second wicket after opener Max Holden had been dismissed in the third over.
England bowled Fiji out for 72 in only 27.3 overs. Peni Vuniwaqa was the lone batsman to offer any resistance with 36 as four batsmen failed to score and five others did not reach double figures. Seamer Saqib Mahmood grabbed 3/2 in his five overs and his new-ball partner Sam Curran took 3/22.
England next play the West Indies on Friday and Fiji take on Zimbabwe the same day.
Group A: Bangladesh 240/7 in 50 overs (Nazmul Hossin 73, Joyraz Sheik 46, Pinak Ghosh 43; Wiaan Mulder 3/42) beat South Africa 197 all out in 48.4 overs (Liam Smith 100; Mohammad Saifuddin 3/30, Mehidy Hasan 3/37).
Group C: England 371/3 in 50 overs (Dan Lawrence 174, Jack Burnham 148) beat Fiji 72 all out in 27.3 overs (Peni Vuniwaqa 36; Saqib Mahmood 3/2, Sam Curran 3/22). (IANS)