The U19 World Cup 2024, under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is all set to take off in Sri Lanka from January 13 to February 4. A total of 16 teams, including 11 full members and five qualifiers, will battle it out in 41 matches for the coveted trophy. The qualifiers – Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland, and the USA – made their way to the World Cup via regional qualification paths.
The 15th instalment of this prestigious event will be hosted in five iconic venues in Colombo: the P. Sara Oval, Colombo Cricket Club, Nondescripts Cricket Club, Singhalese Sports Club, and the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium. The latter has been chosen as the stage for the Semi Finals on January 30 and February 1, and the Final on February 4.
The tournament kicks off on January 13 with three matches lined up. Sri Lanka, the host, will face Zimbabwe at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium. Concurrently, England will lock horns with Scotland at the Colombo Cricket Club, while New Zealand squares off against Nepal at the P. Sara Oval.
Next in line is India, the 2022 champions, who will commence their title defence against the 2020 winners, Bangladesh, on January 14 at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
The upcoming edition introduces a revised format with teams advancing from the group stages entering a new Super Six stage, starting January 24. Here, two groups of six teams will compete to secure their place in the semi-finals and eventually, the finals.
Group A comprises India, Bangladesh, Ireland, and the USA; Group B includes England, South Africa, West Indies, and Scotland; Australia, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and Namibia make up Group C; while Afghanistan, Pakistan, New Zealand, and Nepal form Group D.
Commenting on the schedule announcement, Chris Tetley, ICC Head of Events, said, “The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup has consistently showcased future stars of the sport to global audiences. This edition promises to be no different, and we eagerly anticipate the drama set to unfold across the 41 tournament fixtures.”
Samantha Dodanwela, Tournament Director, expressed Sri Lanka’s excitement to host the event and provide an opportunity to cricket enthusiasts to witness promising young talent on home turf.
Before the tournament, each team will play two warm-up matches between January 7 and 11, across four of the five tournament venues. The hosts will be aiming to surpass their previous best finish, when they were runners-up to India in the 2000 competition.
The U19 World Cup has been a launchpad for many global cricket stars. India leads the pack with five U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup titles, followed by Australia with three, and Pakistan with two. England, Bangladesh, South Africa, and West Indies have each claimed the title once.