Unbeaten India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and England will start as favourites in the Super League quarter-finals stage of the ICC U19 World Cup. The last eight stage starts from Friday. (Sarfaraz Khan, Avesh Khan Take India to Under-19 World Cup Quarterfinals)
These four teams topped their respective groups in the preliminary league with an all-win record, displaying all-round strengths good enough to take any one of them all the way to the title.
Sri Lanka and the West Indies, the other two Test nations in the last eight, will also fancy their chances even as qualifiers Namibia and Nepal look to make a mark against the bigger teams. (Zimbabwe ‘Mankaded’ Out of U-19 World Cup, West Indies Enter Quarterfinals in Controversial Circumstances)
The knock-out round opens with a match between Bangladesh and Nepal, two of the five Asian sides in the fray, here on Friday. The winner of this match will take on the winner of the other quarter-final between England and Sri Lanka, who go head to head here on Sunday. This semi-final too will be played here on February 9. (Nepal U19 World Cup Captain Raju Rijal Faces Age Controversy)
The other semi-final on February 11 February could feature a mouth-watering clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan if the two teams come through their respective quarter-finals.
India will face Namibia in Fatullah on Saturday and Pakistan will play the West Indies on Monday at the same venue.
Bangladesh, the most experienced side in the tournament with five players taking part in their second under-19 World Cup, has not looked back after knocking out defending champion South Africa in the opening match on January 27.
Nepal, which last played in the U19 World Cup in 2012 and returned for this edition after winning the qualifying tournament in Malaysia, defeated New Zealand and Ireland to advance to the quarter-finals.
Rahul Dravid-coached India swept past Group D rivals Ireland, New Zealand and Nepal in impressive fashion, but captain Ishan Kishan is not taking Namibia lightly in the quarter-finals.
“We have not seen Namibia play but they must obviously be doing well to get to this stage. The idea is to stick to the basics and focus on our plans,” he said.
“We have batted and bowled well but we can’t expect one person to perform in every match. Everyone has to contribute. We want to perform as a team.”
New Zealand, South Africa enter plate semifinals
New Zealand and South Africa put aside the disappointment of not qualifying for the Super League of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup by making winning starts in the Plate Championship which decides the 9-16 positions.
New Zealand bounced back from its defeats to India and Nepal in Group D to brush aside Scotland by seven wickets in Cox’s Bazar today.
South Africa, the defending champion who failed to finish among the top two in Group A, breezed past Ireland by eight wickets in another quarter-final here.