New Delhi [India], September 22 (ANI): The match schedule for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 has been revealed as hosts Sri Lanka prepare to welcome the future stars of world cricket to the island nation for the first time since 2006.
Five venues in Colombo are set to stage the action from January 13, with the final on February 4 at R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, as per ICC press release.
Hosts Sri Lanka play Zimbabwe on opening day while defending champions India open up a day later against 2020 champions Bangladesh.
Sixteen teams are set to compete for the trophy across 41 matches from January 13 to February 4, comprising the 11 best-placed Full Member teams at the last edition and five teams who earned their World Cup spot through regional qualification pathways – Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland and USA.
Five venues located in Colombo will stage the 15th edition of the celebrated event; the P. Sara Oval, Colombo Cricket Club, Nondescripts Cricket Club, Singhalese Sports Club and the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, the arena chosen to host both semifinals on January 30 and February 1 and the Ffnal on February 4.
The action starts on January 13 with three fixtures taking place on opening day. Hosts Sri Lanka take on Zimbabwe at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, while 2022 finalists England play Scotland at Colombo Cricket Club and New Zealand face off against Nepal at the P. Sara Oval.
India, who triumphed in the 2022 edition in the West Indies, commence the defence of their crown against 2020 winners Bangladesh a day later on January 14 at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
In a revised format that has been introduced for the upcoming edition, teams progressing from the group stages will enter a new Super Six stage, starting January 24, where two groups of six teams will clash to determine the semi-finalists and the subsequent finalists.
In the group listings, holders India are joined by Bangladesh, Ireland and the US in Group A. Group B consists of England, South Africa, West Indies and Scotland. Group C features Australia, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Namibia while Group D is made up of Afghanistan, Pakistan, New Zealand and Nepal.
Speaking on the announcement of the schedule, ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley remarked, “The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup has a long-standing history of introducing global audiences to future stars of the sport.
“Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Angelo Mathews are some of the names that made their entrance onto the world stage at this event, and we are certain to see this tradition continue as the drama unfolds across the 41 tournament fixtures.
“We are thrilled to see the competition return to Sri Lanka for the first time since 2006, in what promises to be a festival of cricket with no shortage of entertainment, and we are proud to offer fans the chance to witness the action for free once more.”
Tournament Director, Samantha Dodanwela added, “Sri Lanka Cricket is delighted to be welcoming this prestigious event back to Sri Lanka after 18 years.
“Sri Lanka is renowned for its passionate, cricket-loving fans, and we are looking forward to giving them the opportunity to watch some of the most promising young cricketers in the world over 23 days of competition. The five venues selected to host the event in January and February next year have been graced by many exceptionally talented cricketers over the years, and it will be fitting for these historic grounds to host the future stars of the game.
“With so much to look forward to, we have no doubt that the event will help showcase Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for cricket.”
Ahead of the event, each competing team will play two warm-up matches. These will take place across four of the five tournament venues.
The hosts will be hoping to go one better than their previous best finish, when they were runners-up to India at the final of the competition back in 2000.
The landmark event has been the springboard for some of the most recognisable stars of the global game. Through the history of the event, India are the most decorated with five U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup titles, Australia have won the event three times, Pakistan twice, while England, Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies have each been crowned once. (ANI)
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