ICC U-19 World Cup: Thrilling India-Pakistan contest on the cards

All is set for the quarterfinal match between India and Pakistan in the  ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup scheduled to be held on Monday. Though India enjoys an overall 9-7 record against Pakistan in U19 cricket, the green shirts have performed better in big and pressure matches, having won five of the six contests in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cups.

Pakistan beat India in the semi-final of the 2004 event in Bangladesh, then in the 2006 final in Sri Lanka and overpowered India again in the quarter-final in New Zealand in 2010. In the inaugural event in 1988, Pakistan defeated India by 68 runs while India’s only victory in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup came in the 1998 event in Durban where it beat Pakistan by five wickets.

In the ongoing event, Pakistan remained unbeaten in Group B while in Group C India suffered a shock defeat against the West Indies before it bounced back to win convincingly against Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Looking ahead to the match, Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who is the second leading run-getter with 182 runs, said: “We played India in the Asia Cup in Malaysia before this tournament and we won one (by one run) while the other game (the final) ended in a tie. There is always a tight contest between us and we are expecting nothing different this time.

“Our players are aware of how exciting this is for the supporters of both the teams. They know that there will be millions of fans glued to their screens seeing the action when we meet. The last time we met the games were exciting so we hope that continues.”

India captain Unmukt Chand, who has scored 104 runs so far, said: “Pakistan will be a challenge but we have worked hard on our skills coming into the tournament and also on the mental side of our game.

“We played Pakistan twice in Malaysia in June and learnt a lot from those matches. So, we are confident that we can perform very well not only in the quarter-final but also in the rest of the matches.”

England hope to end South Africa’s unbeaten run 

South Africa, which was unbeaten in Group D, holds an edge over England which finished second behind Australia in Group A.

South Africa has won both its previous meetings against England in ICC U19 Cricket World Cups. Overall South Africa has won 12 of its 20 matches against England, losing just six matches with two producing no-results.

South Africa opener Quinton de Kock is the leading run-getter in the tournament so far with 226 runs, while his captain Chad Bowes is third on the list with 179 runs. England’s Ben Foakes with 126 runs is in 12th spot. In the bowlers’ list, England’s Reece Topley with eight wickets shares second spot with India’s Kamal Passi, while Corne Dry is South Africa’s best bowler with six wickets to date.

England captain Adam Ball, looking ahead to the match, said: “We can’t wait to play against South Africa. They have done pretty well in the tournament so far and have been unbeaten. So, it will be good for us to break that record.

“We would have liked to start off with a win against Australia but it was good to bounce back and have two convincing wins against Nepal and Ireland. Although they are associate nations and we were expected to win, it was good to beat them quite convincingly and put a message out to the rest of the teams at the tournament.”

South Africa captain Bowes said: “We wanted to get some good wins in the preliminary rounds and carry the momentum forward. We came to play good cricket and have done that so far.

“The conditions have suited us so far. It is similar to what we get at home. The bowlers have enjoyed the bounce and the batsmen are comfortable with the pace and carry off the wickets. We have tried to be as clinical as we can be with our performances but know that we’ve only done part of the job so far.”

Australia favourite against Bangladesh

Unbeaten Australia will start off as firm favourite in its match against Bangladesh whose only group loss was against South Africa. Bangladesh defeated Australia by eight runs in the only match between the two sides at this level in the Plate Championship final of the 2004 event in Dhaka.

For Australia, Ashton Turner and Gurinder Sandhu are in good form with the ball, having picked up seven and six wickets, respectively. Cameron Bancroft with 127 runs from two matches is home side’s best batsman. Bangladesh captain Amanul Haque has also been in sparkling form, having scored 172 runs, including a century against Sri Lanka.

Australia captain Will Bosisto, previewing the match, said: “So far we have progressed as expected. We wanted to win our three pool games and get as many guys in form as possible, and I think so far we have done that and are happy with where we are.

“We haven’t played against Bangladesh before but we know they will have a couple of good spinners. We have heard that they have a couple of good quick bowlers and have strong batters at the top as well.”

Bangladesh captain Amanul said: “We have played some good cricket since we have been in Australia but now we have the chance to show what we can do when things get more challenging. Our fast bowlers like the conditions, as do our spinners, and the batsmen now have the confidence.”

“It is a big game against Australia but we are ready to do our best for Bangladesh and all our fans.”

New Zealand confident of testing West Indies

The West Indies has won both its previous two encounters against New Zealand in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cups and also remained unbeaten in Group D. In contrast, New Zealand lost to Pakistan by five wickets, narrowly beat Afghanistan by eight runs and defeated Scotland by 39 runs.

Looking ahead to the quarter-final, West Indies’ captain and Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite said: “We played against New Zealand in one of the warm-up games. They are a quality team. They have some good bowlers and their top-five is pretty stable.

“I think the conditions are good with the sun being out. The pitch is doing a bit and may get a little slower as the tournament goes by. But I think whichever team plays better cricket on the day will win.”

New Zealand captain Will Young, who is the eighth leading run-getter with 136 runs, said: “We’re working very hard at the moment and believe we can step up now that we are in the quarter-finals. The West Indies have been impressive but it is up to us to test them now.”

Schedule: Super League


*Sun 19 Aug – England v South Africa, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville – Paul Reiffel and Ravi Sundaram (on-field), Enamul Hoque Moni (third umpire), Ranmore Martinesz (fourth umpire); Roshan Mahanama (match referee)

Sun 19 Aug – Australia v Bangladesh, Endeavour Park 2, Townsville - Chris Gaffaney and Peter Nero (on-field), Richard Illingworth (third umpire), Johan Cloete (fourth umpire); Roshan Mahanama (remote match referee)

*Mon 20 Aug – India v Pakistan, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville – Enamul Hoque Moni and Richard Illingworth (on-field), Peter Nero (third umpire), Chris Gaffaney (fourth umpire); Roshan Mahanama (match referee)

Mon 20 Aug –New Zealand v West Indies, Endeavour Park 1, Townsville - Johan Cloete and Ranmore Martinesz (on-field), Ravi Sundaram (third umpire), Paul Reiffel (fourth umpire); Roshan Mahanama (remote match referee)