Business end of U-19 Cricket World Cup commences today
The business end of the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022 has arrived and we now know who will contest the Super League stage and the Plate competition.
Six of the eight Super League teams have previously won the tournament, with India, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, England and defending champions Bangladesh all through.
Sri Lanka, who finished as runners-up in 2000, and Afghanistan are the two other teams still in with a chance of lifting the title at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on February 5.
Meanwhile, in the Plate quarter-finals, hosts West Indies will look to bounce back from missing out on a Super League spot and finish their first tournament on home soil on a high.
They will be joined by United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Ireland, Canada, Zimbabwe, Scotland and Papua New Guinea in what is set to be an absorbing contest to decide the Plate winners.
Super League quarter-finals
Four-time champions India enter the Super League stages in formidable form, having won all three of their games in Group B to finish top and set up a clash with Bangladesh.
Huge centuries from Raj Bawa and Angkrish Raghuvanshi saw India conclude the group format with a thumping 326-run victory over Uganda having already beaten South Africa and Ireland.
Bangladesh’s passage was not quite as stress-free, with the defending 2020 champions recovering from losing their opening game to England to finish second in Group A.
An eight-wicket win over Canada was followed by a nine-wicket triumph (DLS) in a rain-interrupted game against UAE to set up a rematch of the final two years ago.
And while India will fancy avenging their three-wicket defeat in the 2020 showpiece, Bangladesh are finding their stride at just the right time to set the stage for an epic battle.
Like India, England have reached the Super League stage with a clean sweep, following up that win over Bangladesh with 106 and 189-run victories over Canada and UAE, respectively.
Tom Prest has led from the front for the Young Lions, scoring 93 and an unbeaten 154 in his last two outings to set up a showdown with Group B runners-up South Africa in the last eight.
2014 champions South Africa shook off their opening defeat to India to beat Uganda by 121 runs before dispatching Ireland with a 153-run victory (DLS) in a rain-affected contest.
A century from skipper George Van Heerden last time out, as well as the superb form of Dewald Brevis with the bat, will give South Africa confidence they can beat the 1998 champions.
Elsewhere, the two teams yet to win the ICC U-19 Men’s CWC will also face off against each other for a semi-final place as Group D winners Sri Lanka take on Group C runners-up Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka topped a tough group that included three-time champions Australia and hosts West Indies, beating both teams and Scotland to lay down an impressive marker.
Afghanistan sandwiched a defeat to Group C winners Pakistan with wins over Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe as Suliman Safi starred with the bat to take Player-of-the-Match in both victories.
And completing the Super League quarter-final line-up is a fascinating showdown between Pakistan and Australia – two of the most successful teams in this competition behind India.
Two-time winners Pakistan have match-winners everywhere you look and swept through Group C with a perfect record as they beat Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea.
Australia, on the other hand, had to settle for second in Group D after losing by four wickets to Sri Lanka in between Teague Wyllie-inspired wins over West Indies and Scotland.
But while Pakistan have momentum on their side, Australia are well versed with the latter stages of this competition and will be looking to add to their 1988, 2002 and 2010 titles.
UAE take on Uganda at Queen’s Park Oval and Ireland face Canada at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in a double-header on January 25 to kick off the Plate quarter-finals.
A victory over Canada in their opening Group A contest had the UAE dreaming of a potential Super League place, but defeats to England and Bangladesh put paid to that.
Yet this is only their third ICC U-19 Men’s CWC appearance and they are still in with a chance of achieving their best finish with a good Plate run as they look to better 2014’s 12th place.
Opponents Uganda are similarly inexperienced on the world stage and are still searching for their first win in this year’s tournament, having finished bottom of Group B with three defeats.
Skipper Pascal Murungi has shown plenty of fight with the bat and ball, though, and their sights will now be set on surpassing their previous best finish of 14th from 2004 and 2006.
Ireland were one of Uganda’s rivals in Group B and having won their opening match-up by 39 runs, Tim Tector’s side will now turn their focus to a Plate clash with Canada.
Canada pushed UAE close in their Group A curtain-raiser before falling to defeat, while they also lost to England and defending champions Bangladesh to finish bottom.
Mihir Patel’s batting has been one of the highlights for the Canadians and they will need him to be at his best as they attempt to upset Ireland and reach the Plate semi-finals.
The winner of that contest will face whoever comes out on top in the quarter-final between Zimbabwe and Scotland, who finished third and fourth in Group C and D, respectively.
Zimbabwe could not have asked for a better start to the ICC U-19 Men’s CWC as they romped to a 228-run victory over Papua New Guinea with a century from Emmanuel Bawa.
But defeats to Pakistan and Afghanistan ended their Super League hopes and their chances of equaling or bettering their sixth-place finish back in the 2004 edition.
Their challenge now is to regroup and go again in the Plate competition, where Scotland await after they finished bottom of Group D following defeats to Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia.
Jack Jarvis, Oliver Davidson and Tomas Mackintosh have all impressed with the bat at different stages for Scotland, but it’s now about putting together the complete performance.
The last Plate quarter-final sees West Indies take on Papua New Guinea, with the hosts and 2016 champions bidding to put their disappointment behind them quickly.
Kevin Wickham’s half-century and McKenny Clarke’s spell of 2-39 was not enough against Sri Lanka in their final Group D match, as they lost by four wickets and missed out on the Super League.
Defeat to Australia in their opening game also proved costly, but with potentially three more games to come, West Indies can still give their fans plenty to cheer about on home soil. (ICC)