Hosts South Africa are all set to take on Afghanistan to kick off the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup on Friday (January 17) at the at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley. The young Proteas are in Group D along with Afghanistan, Canada and United Arab Emirates. They are the strong favourites to emerge from their pool and will be aiming for their second title, after winning in 2014.
Interestingly, in the history of Youth World Cup, Australia are the only team which has lift the trophy on home soil back in 1988, during its inaugural edition. So, in this year’s championship the South Africans are looking to second their effort.
South Africa’s former Under-17 Cricketer of the Year Bryce Parsons is the leading the hosts in this competition and has been described as a ‘natural leader’ by head coach Lawrence Mahatlane.
“There is a lot of flexibility with some special talent around, I am personally excited about this group and I am sure they will make the nation proud,” Mahatlane has been quoted saying in the official website of ICC.
The home team looks in fine form following an 8-wicket warm-up win against Nigeria on Tuesday, which saw five bowlers take two wickets each as they bowled out their African rivals for just 61 runs. They will aim to do the same to Afghanistan, but they will be no pushovers, especially in this Under-19 level.
Since the 2010 edition, this is Afghanistan’s sixth successive appearance at the Under-19 World Cup. In the past we have seen the young Afghans beating former champions like Australia and Pakistan. Even they have gone past the defending World champions India, in one of the 50-over matches in a recent bilateral series in Lucknow. The Farhan Zakhil-led side has also outclassed England by 21 runs in their warm-up match.
Hence, one can expect a competitive inaugural game in this Youth World Cup.
South Africa Under-19s: Andrew Louw, Jonathan Bird, Bryce Parsons(c), Tyrese Karelse, Pheko Moletsane, Jack Lees, Luke Beaufort(w), Tiaan van Vuuren, Gerald Coetzee, Merrick Brett, Achille Cloete, Khanya Cotani, Manje Levert, Mondli Khumalo, Odirile Modimokoane
Afghanistan Under-19s: Farhan Zakhil(c), Imran Mir, Sediqullah Atal, Rahmanullah, Asif Musazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Abid Mohammadi, Mohammad Ishaq(w), Shafiqullah Ghafari, Abdul Rahman, Abidullah Taniwal, Fazal Haq, Jamshid Khan, Noor Ahmad, Zohaib Ahmadzai
Match starts: 1.30 (IST)
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