World ju­nior cricket fes­ti­val re­turns to Bangladesh

CityPress - - Sport - MA­SUD ALAM sports@city­

This is where South Africa will be­gin the de­fence of their ti­tle when the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) Un­der-19 World Cup gets un­der way in Bangladesh on Wed­nes­day.

The reign­ing cham­pi­ons will face the hosts in the open­ing match at Zahur Ahmed Chowd­hury Sta­dium in Chit­tagong.

Eng­land meet Fiji at the MA Aziz Sta­dium in Chit­tagong on the same day.

The 19-day event, com­pris­ing 48 matches, will be played across eight venues in four cities un­til Fe­bru­ary 14.

This is the se­cond time Bangladesh, fa­mous for its Tigers, will be host­ing the global ju­nior cricket event, hav­ing first done so in 2004.

The 16-team tour­na­ment is the big­gest plat­form for cricket’s ris­ing stars and the com­pe­ti­tion opened the way for the likes of South Africa’s bowler Kag­iso Rabada (20) in 2014 and did the same for bats­man Mush­fiqur Rahim (27) in 2006, who is in the cur­rent Bangladesh se­nior squad.

Bangladesh, along with South Africa, are pit­ted against Scot­land and Namibia in Group A.

Group B is made up of Pak­istan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Canada.

Eng­land finds it­self in Group C with the West Indies, Zim­babwe and Fiji, while Group D is dec­o­rated with In­dia, New Zealand, Nepal and Ire­land.

Cricket pow­er­house Aus­tralia is a no­table omis­sion from this year’s line-up.

The Aussies were sup­posed to be in Group D, but Cricket Aus­tralia with­drew its team from the event, cit­ing con­cerns about safety and se­cu­rity.

They were re­placed by Ire­land in the tour­na­ment. South Africa won the World Cup in the United Arab Emi­rates in 2014 by de­feat­ing twotime for­mer cham­pi­ons Pak­istan in the fi­nal.

In Bangladesh, all matches will be day fix­tures start­ing at 5am SA time, with the fi­nal tak­ing place at the Sher-e-Bangla Na­tional Cricket Sta­dium in Mir­pur, Dhaka.

Bangladesh Cricket Board chief Naz­mul Has­san said: “Bangladesh has a proud his­tory of host­ing ICC events. I am con­fi­dent this tour­na­ment will also be suc­cess­ful.” Alam is a reporter for Prothom Alo, a Ben­gali-lan­guage news­pa­per in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is based in SA cour­tesy of the

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