U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup only ten days away; West Indies to play New Zealand in first warm-up game on January 14

By Sports Desk January 09, 2024

The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 lies just ten days away, and preparations are in full flow as South Africa gears up to host the very best young cricketers in the world from 19 January.

The 15th edition of the celebrated event will see 41 matches take place across 24 days of competition, with five host venues staging the action; Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein, Kimberley Oval in Kimberley, JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, Buffalo Park in East London and Willowmoore Park in Benoni – the venue selected to host the semi-finals and final encounter on 11 February.

Fans wanting to catch a glimpse of the next generation of cricket superstars can do so for free throughout the tournament, and the thrilling action of the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup will be accompanied by a vibrant festival atmosphere at grounds, with braai areas, kids’ entertainment featuring jumping castles, face painting and more, live music offerings and a mini-cricket area for young fans to show off their own budding talents, ensuring a truly memorable experience for all.

With the start of the tournament fast approaching, teams are also entering the final stages of their preparations, and warm-up fixtures are set to take place across venues in Johannesburg and Pretoria between 13 and 17 January with spectators welcome to catch every ball, live.

Each team will play two warm-up fixtures before the main event commences on 19 January, and the opening round of fixtures offers plenty of drama and excitement as a host of rivals meet to start their World Cup campaigns.

Opening day (19 January) will see Potchefstroom host South Africa’s opening match against another former U19 champion, West Indies.

The young Proteas, led by captain David Teeger will be eager to start with a victory, and there is no shortage of excitement amongst the group.

South Africa U19 skipper Teeger: “The team and I cannot wait for the World Cup to start. The opportunity to play in such an esteemed tournament is a real honour and we are really excited to represent our country.

“With it being a home World Cup, it really is a once in a lifetime experience and we cannot wait to do the Mzansi nation proud.”

Ireland and USA go head-to-head in Bloemfontein also on opening day before India start the defence of their crown against Bangladesh at the same venue a day later on 20 January, in a repeat of the 2020 final. Both captains are looking forward to getting their campaigns off to a positive start.

India U19 captain Uday Saharan: “Our preparation has been intense, and the team has been working tirelessly to fine-tune every aspect of our game. We understand the challenges that come with representing our country at this level, but the excitement within the squad is palpable.

“The prospect of competing against the best U19 teams from around the world is both thrilling and motivating. We have a great blend of talent, determination, and team spirit, and we are looking forward to embracing the competition and giving our best on the field.”

Bangladesh U19 captain Mahfuzur Rahman Rabby: “We are very excited. Most players at this age level get one opportunity to participate in a U19 World Cup and we want to make this event a memorable one. We don't have to look far for inspiration. We became Asian champions only last month and four years ago our predecessors won the World Cup.

“We will go there to win the World Cup. Bangladesh has done that before and there is no reason why we can't carry the momentum from the Asia Cup to South Africa.”

Two further rivals lock horns on 20 January, as finalists from the previous edition England take on Scotland in Potchefstroom and Pakistan and Afghanistan meet in East London.

England U19 captain Ben McKinney: “This is the first U19 World Cup for all the players, and we want to show how exciting we are as a team.

“We want to showcase our skills and impose ourselves on each and every game, with an overall aim to go on and to win the tournament.”

Scotland U19 captain Owen Gould: "We are absolutely buzzing…It’s a huge honour to be representing Scotland. It’ll really sink in when we take to the pitch in the first game. Even to be playing in the qualifiers last summer was special, but this is just the next level up.

“That first England game is the big one. The rivalry, and it being the first game of the tournament… I think we’ll all be buzzing for it.”

Afghanistan U19 captain Naseer Khan Maroof Khil: “Including me, all the boys are very enthusiastic and committed. No doubt, it is an outstanding learning platform to show our talent and skills to the world.

“As we got to the semi-finals last time, the boys are eager to get to the final this time and win the trophy for the country.”

Warm-up fixtures

Saturday 13 January

USA v Namibia, Tuks Oval, Pretoria

India v Australia, TUT Oval, Pretoria

South Africa v Pakistan, St Stithians, Johannesburg

Nepal v Scotland, Braamfischer Oval, Johannesburg

Sunday 14 January

Ireland v Zimbabwe, Tuks Oval, Pretoria

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, TUT Oval, Pretoria

England v Afghanistan, St Stithians, Johannesburg

New Zealand v West Indies, Braamfischer Oval, Johannesburg

Tuesday 16 January

Namibia v Ireland, Tuks Oval, Pretoria

Zimbabwe v USA, TUT Oval, Pretoria

West Indies v Nepal, St Stithians, Johannesburg

South Africa v Afghanistan, Braamfischer Oval, Johannesburg

Wednesday 17 January

Sri Lanka v India, Tuks Oval, Pretoria

Australia v Bangladesh, TUT Oval, Pretoria

Scotland v New Zealand, St Stithians, Johannesburg

Pakistan v England, Braamfischer Oval, Johannesburg

 

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