In a recent announcement, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the Men’s Under-19 World Cup 2024, initially slated for Sri Lanka, will now take place in South Africa from January 19 to February 11. The tournament was relocated due to the ICC Board’s provisional suspension of Sri Lanka Cricket on November 23, citing extensive government interference.
- New Format: The upcoming edition of the tournament will feature a revamped format, introducing a Super Six stage after the group phase. Teams advancing from the initial four groups will compete in two groups of six teams each during the Super Six stage to secure a spot in the semi-finals.
- Group Composition: The four groups remain unchanged, featuring notable cricketing nations. Group A consists of India, Bangladesh, Ireland, and USA; Group B includes England, South Africa, West Indies, and Scotland; Group C comprises Australia, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and Namibia; and Group D involves Afghanistan, Pakistan, New Zealand, and Nepal.
- Venues: A total of 41 matches will be played across five venues in South Africa: Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein, JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, Buffalo Park in East London, Kimberley Oval, and Willowmoore Park in Benoni.
- Opening Matches: The tournament kicks off with two matches on the first day – Ireland vs. USA in Bloemfontein and South Africa vs. West Indies in Potchefstroom. Defending champions India commence their campaign the next day against 2020 champions Bangladesh in Bloemfontein.
- Final Venue: The grand finale is scheduled to take place in Benoni.
- Warm-up Matches: Ahead of the tournament, teams will engage in two warm-up matches each from January 13 to 17, hosted in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Tournament Director Wanele Mngomezulu expressed enthusiasm for the challenge and emphasized the opportunity to showcase South Africa’s capabilities in hosting major cricket events. Hosting the Under-19 World Cup serves as preparation for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2027, scheduled to be held in South Africa.
The ICC’s Head of Events, Chris Tetley, acknowledged South Africa’s successful hosting of previous cricket events and looks forward to welcoming the world’s best young cricketers to five distinguished international venues. The decision to relocate the tournament presents an opportunity to build on the momentum created by South Africa’s recent successful cricket endeavors.
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