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U-19 World Cup: Top teams favourite as quarter-finals begin on Friday

Press Trust of India |February 4, 2016, 6:54 PM IST
U-19 World Cup: Top teams favourite as quarter-finals begin on Friday

Mirpur: Unbeaten India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and England, will start favourites when the Super League quarter-finals stage of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2016 gets underway from Friday in Fatullah and Mirpur.

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.

The knock-out round opens with a match between Bangladesh and Nepal, two of the five Asian sides in the fray, in Mirpur 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 in Mirpur on Sunday. This semi-final too will be played in Mirpur on February 9.

The other semi-final on February 11 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 U-19 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."

Stocky Sarfaraz Khan scored 74 in each of the first two games to shore up a wobbly top-order.

But it was left-handed opener Rishabh Pant who stole the show with a blistering 78 off 24 balls against hapless Nepal, a knock studded with nine boundaries and five sixes.

His 50 off just 18 balls was the fastest half-century in under-19 international cricket.

Unfancied Namibia has progressed beyond their best-ever finish of 11th place in 2008, following a stunning two-wicket win over South Africa and a nine-wicket defeat of Scotland.

England, with nine senior County players in its ranks, has shown excellent form with both bat and ball in its three Group C matches to emerge as the team to beat in the competition.

England raked up huge totals in every match, scoring 371 for three against Fiji and followed that with a 282 for seven against the West Indies and 288 for four against Zimbabwe.

Pakistan trounced Afghanistan by six wickets and Canada by seven wickets before squeezing past Sri Lanka by 23 runs on Wednesday to top Group B.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more