Left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar returned with a five-wicket haul to help India clinch the U-19 Asia Cup title with a thrilling five-run win over Bangladesh in a low-scoring final here on Saturday. Defending a paltry total of 106, India dismissed Bangladesh for 101 in 33 overs, courtesy 18-year-old Ankolekar, who emerged as the star of the Indian team with figures of 5 for 28 from 8 overs. While Ankolekar spun a web of spin to derail Bangladesh's chase, he was supported well by pacer Akash Singh, who accounted for three wickets. V Patil (1/25) and SS Mishra (1/27) also chipped in with one wicket each at the R Premadasa Stadium here.
Chasing a small target of 107, skipper Akbar Ali (23) and Mrittunjoy Chowdhury (21) kept Bangladesh in the hunt. After they were back to the pavillion, Tanzim Hasan Sakib (12) and Rakibul Hasan (11) raised hopes of a Bangladesh win before India fought back to bundle them out.
Earlier, skipper Dhruv Jurel (33) and lower-order batsman Karan Lal (37) came up with useful contributions to help India cross the 100-run mark. India's decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired big time as left-arm pacer Mrittunjoy Chowdhury (3/18) and off-spinner Shamim Hossain (3/8) wreaked havoc on the Indian batsmen.
Opener Arjun Azad was the first to go as he was caught behind by Akbar Ali off Tanzim Hasan Sakib's bowling in the third over. In the next over, NT Tilak Varma was sent back by Mrittunjoy with Tanzid Hasan taking another catch and after the other opener SV Parkar was run out by Tanzid Hasan, India U-19 team had slipped to 8 for 3.
Shashwat Rawat (19) and skipper Jurel then steadied the ship and brought up the team fifty before the former was trapped leg-before by Hossain in the 15th over. Two balls later, Varun Lavande (0) was dismissed for naught by Hossain as India U-19 lost half their side for 53 for five in 14.4 overs.
Atharva Ankolekar (2) was then run-out in the 20th over, while Hossain accounted for Jurel in the next over. In 26th over, Sushant Mishra (3) walked back to the pavillion when he was caught by Akbar Ali off Shahin Alam's bowling, while Vidyadhar Patil was removed by Mrittunjoy in the next over.
Karan was the last batsman to be dismissed as India U-19 were bundled out for a paltry score of 106 in 32.4 overs.