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U-19 World Cup: Will it be an India-Pak semi-final?

February 04, 2016 18:06 IST

India & Pakistan will face-off in semi-final if they beat Namibia and West Indies in their respective quarterfinal clashes.

india under-19 team

IMAGE:India Colts in action at the 2016 ICC U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. Photograph: ICC.

Undefeated India, England, Pakistan and Bangladesh (host) will start as favourites when the Super League quarter-finals of the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup 2016 are played from 5 to 8 February in Mirpur and Fatullah.

These four teams topped their respective groups in the preliminary league with an all-win record, displaying all-round strengths good enough to take any one of them all the way to the title.

Sri Lanka and the West Indies, the other two Test nations in the last eight, will also fancy their chances even as qualifiers Namibia and Nepal look to make a mark against the bigger teams.

There is a strong possibility of arch-rivals India and Pakistan facing-off in the semi-final (On February 11), if both the teams win their respective quarterfinal matches.

India meets minnows Namibia in Fatullah on Saturday, while Pakistan faces a comparatively difficult task against the West Indies on Monday at the same venue.

The knock-out round (quarterfinals) opens with a match between Bangladesh and Nepal, two of the five Asian sides in the fray, in Mirpur on Friday.

The winner of this match will take on the winner of the other quarter-final between England and Sri Lanka, who go head to head in Mirpur on Sunday. This semi-final will be played in Mirpur on 9 February.

Rahul Dravid coached India swept past Group D rivals Ireland, New Zealand and Nepal in an impressive fashion, but captain Ishan Kishan is not taking Namibia lightly in the quarter-finals.

We have not seen Namibia play but they must obviously be doing well to get to this stage,” he said. “The idea is to stick to the basics and focus on our plans.

"We have batted and bowled well but we can’t expect one person to perform in every match. Everyone has to contribute. We want to perform as a team."

Star batsman Sarfaraz Khan scored 74 in each of the first two games to shore up a wobbly top-order.

pantBut it was left-handed opener Rishabh Pant who stole the show in the last league game with a blistering 78 off 24 balls against hapless Nepal, a knock studded with nine boundaries and five sixes.

His 50 off just 18 balls was the fastest recorded half-century in the history of under-19 international cricket.

Un-fancied Namibia has progressed beyond its best-ever finish of 11th place in 2008 following a stunning two-wicket win over South Africa and a nine-wicket defeat of Scotland.

Image: India’s Under-19 cricketer Rishabh Pant.

Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI

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