Abu Dhabi, Feb 14 (): A total of 16 teams are taking part in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup tournament, which has 48 matches to be played at six grounds in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The finals will be held at the Dubai Sports City Stadium on March 1.
The 16 teams in the U-19 World Cup have been divided into four groups:
Group A: India, Pakistan, Scotland and Papua New Guinea
Group B: Australia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Namibia
Group C: South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Canada.
Group D: New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates
On the opening day, four matches will be played with 1998 champion England facing the United Arab Emirates at Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium, Zimbabwe taking on Canada at Abu Dhabi Oval 1, New Zealand and Sri Lanka going head to head at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, and South Africa squaring off against the West Indies at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Unlike the senior World Cup, where the importance is mainly on winning, the U-19 edition is an educational step, a chance for cricketers to learn more about life. They will learn to interact with different cultures and are encouraged to mix around with the other teams in a friendly atmosphere.
India will look to preserve the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup title in this 16-day tournament. India has also previously won the crown under Mohammad Kaif in 2000 and Virat Kohli in 2008, but unlike Pakistan, its opponent in Saturday’s match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, it has never won back-to-back titles.
India seems to have strong identifications in this event as only a month ago in the UAE, it won the U-19 Asia Cup when it defeated Pakistan in the finals.
Last year in July, it also won the Top End U-19 tri-series, which featured Australia and New Zealand, and beat Sri Lanka in August in a bilateral series as well as winning the U-19 quadrangular series, which also involved South Africa, Australia and Zimbabwe.