India Under-19 world cup-1695399992909
Indian Under-19 players during a felicitation after winning the World Cup in 2022. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: Defending champions India will open their ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2024 campaign against Bangladesh in Colombo on January 14. Hosts Sri Lanka, who are hosting the event for the first time since 2006, will take on Zimbabwe in the opening clash on January 13 with the final slated on February 4.

Sixteen teams are set to compete for the silverware across 41 matches, comprising the 11 best-placed Full Member teams at the last edition and five teams who earned their World Cup spot through regional qualification pathways — Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland and USA.

Five historic venues

Five historic venues located in Colombo will stage the 15th edition of the celebrated event; the P. Sara Oval, Colombo Cricket Club, Nondescripts Cricket Club, Sinhalese Sports Club and the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, which will host both the semifinals on January 30 and February 1, and the Final on February 4.

The action starts on January 13 with three fixtures taking place on opening day. The 2022 finalists England play Scotland at Colombo Cricket Club and New Zealand face off against Nepal at the P. Sara Oval.

Revised format

In a revised format, teams progressing from the group stages will enter a new Super Six stage, starting from January 24, where two groups of six teams will clash to determine the semifinalists and the subsequent finalists.

Holders India are joined by Bangladesh, Ireland and USA in Group A while Group B consists of England, South Africa, West Indies and Scotland. Group C features Australia, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Namibia while Group D is made up of Afghanistan, Pakistan, New Zealand and Nepal.

Speaking on the announcement of the schedule, ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: “The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup has a long-standing history of introducing global audiences to future stars of the sport. “Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Angelo Mathews are some of the names that made their entrance onto the world stage at this event, and we are certain to see this tradition continue as the drama unfolds across the 41 tournament fixtures.”

Cricket-loving fans

Tournament Director, Samantha Dodanwela added: “Sri Lanka is renowned for its passionate, cricket-loving fans, and we are looking forward to giving them the opportunity to watch some of the most promising young cricketers in the world over 23 days of competition.”

Through the history of the event, India are the most decorated with five titles, Australia have won the event three times, Pakistan twice, while England, Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies have each been crowned once.