The ICC U-19 World Cup 2020 has been an applaudable tournament. The standard of cricket played throughout this tournament was no different than what is exhibited by the senior teams. From engaging matches, new-born stars, and teams like Japan and Nigeria making their debut appearances, there was a lot to love about this tournament.
The thirteenth edition of the tournament took place in South Africa, where 16 teams from around the world fought for the throne. India, New Zealand, West Indies, Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and South Africa were the teams battling it out at the group stage.
Newcomers, Japan had a tough tournament, as they ended up with the lowest total – 41 against India, while the U-19 Proteas scored the highest total of the tournament – 349 against Canada.
The quarter-finals were the phase where things got competitive, as we witnessed some of the tightest clashes between these teams. A hot contest emerged between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where thanks to the brilliance of debutant Mohammad Huraira, Pakistan sealed the victory by 6 wickets with 8.5 overs to spare.
In Australia vs India clash, Kartik Tyagi’s 4/24 helped to defend champions move to the semis. In the least competitive match of this phase, Bangladesh outclassed South Africa with a 104-run victory thanks to an amazing inning by Tanzid Hasan scoring 80, and a remarkable 5 wicket haul by Rakibul Hassan. The closest match in this phase was between the Kiwis and West indies, where Kirk McKenzie’s 99 went to vain as New Zealand squeezed victory out of the Windies hands by 2 wickets and 2 balls to spare! Kristian Clarke’s brilliant all-round performance including a 42 ball 46* and bowling figures of 4/25 made him the hero of that day.
This meant that the next phase of semi-finals would set up a highly anticipated contest between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, who have 6 U-19 World Cup titles under their combined belt. The other match to be played was between the Kiwis and the Bangla Tigers.
The expectation from the India-Pakistan clash went to waste as defending champions outclassed Pakistan in every department of the game. Bishnoi, Tyagi and Mishra’s amazing spells bowled out the Pakistani team for just 172 runs, which thanks to Yashavi Jaiswal’s innings of 105, India chased keeping all 10 wickets safe. This was highly embarrassing for the Pakistani camp.
In the other match, Bangladesh comfortably beat New Zealand by 6 wickets chasing 211, with a century from Mahmudul Hassan Joy.
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On the other end of the spectrum, England emerged victorious in the Plate League Final (Teams that are not in the quarter-finals), defeating Sri Lanka by a comfortable margin securing the 9th position.
The highly anticipated finale was played Potchefstroom on the 9th of February between neighbouring countries, India and Bangladesh. Everyone rated India as the favourites to win, as they were defending champions and have 4 previous U-19 World Cup titles, but the Bangla Tigers proved otherwise with their undying resilience. India bated first, and despite Yashavi Jaiswal’s 88 could only manage a score 177 losing all wickets. A rain interruption caused Bangladesh to have a revised target of 170. Ravi Bishnoi tried his hardest to bring India back in the game by securing 4 wickets, but at the end of the day, Bangladesh triumphed and secured their maiden U-19 World Cup title. Akbar Ali played an unbeaten 43 to ensure the win for his team. This was also Bangladesh’s first one of ICC tournaments at any level! Bangladesh captain Akbar Ali has become a hero in his home country after such a huge feat for the young nation. He has become an inspiration for senior and junior players alike!
Yashavi Jaiswal remained the top scorer of the tournament with 400 runs and secured the player of the tournament award. Ravi Bishnoi lead the bowling charts with 17 wickets.
This edition of the U-19 World Cup was wholesome in many ways, as we got to see two new teams taking part in the tournament, a hard-working Bangladesh winning it, and so many new potential stars performing well on the big stage. We hope that upcoming future ICC events are just as amazing as this one!
Feature image source: Cricinfo