India is going to open against Australia in the ICC Under-19 World Cup, scheduled to be held from January 13 to February 3, next year. According to the announcement by the ICC, India and Australia have been clubbed together in Group B alongside Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe.
The three-time winner and runner-up of the last U-19 in 2016, Team India, is set to clash with another three-time winner in the shape of Australia in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2018 in Tauranga on January 14.
West Indies, the defending champion is going to play against hosts New Zealand in the inaugural Group A day-night fixture at Bay Oval on the opening day of 16-team tournament which will be played across seven venues in four cities – Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga, and Whangarei.
Other teams in Group A are 2012 champion South Africa and African qualifier Kenya.
The 10 Test playing nations (before Afghanistan and Ireland’s recent inclusion) had attained automatic qualification alongside the best finishing associate from the last edition in 2016, Namibia.
"The ICC U19 World Cup plays an important role in the progression of young talent onto the global stage. The list of past and current players who had their first taste of a major event at this tournament is a long one and I have no doubt we'll be witnessing some of the tomorrow's stars in New Zealand next year," said Chris Tetley, ICC Head of Events.
Bangladesh, Canada, England, and Namibia have been included in Group C whereas Group D consists of two-time champion Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Asia qualifier Afghanistan and European qualifier Ireland.
The top two sides from each group will qualify for the Super League while the rest of the eight teams will figure in the plate championship.
The 2018 tournament will be the 11th edition of the tournament and the third to be held in New Zealand. The good news for all the cricket fans across New Zealand is that they have access to all the matches without paying a penny.
"This will be the most accessible international event ever staged throughout New Zealand, with free entry to all games, so we look forward to opening the gates to our match venues in a little under five months' time," Tournament Director Brendan Bourke said.
The final will be played at Bay Oval on February 3 while both semi finals will be played at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on January 29 and 30.
The plate tournament will run at the same time but end with the final at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Christchurch on January 28.
All the teams are looking forward to the tournament with a great zeal as this tournament is a stepping stone in the development of all participants — players and match officials.
“We have the skill and the strong mental belief that we can upset any full-member nation on a given day. As any other team, we set ourselves on the goal of hopefully winning the World Cup and proving that Canada is another up and coming massive cricketing nation,” said Canada captain Abraash Khan.