The 2020 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup started in Central South Africa last week with the top 16 age group teams from across the globe battling it out.
The action got underway in Kimberley on Friday with the hosts, South Africa, facing the giant slayers, Afghanistan. It was no an ideal start for the Junior Proteas as they suffered a heavy seven-wicket defeat to the team from the war-torn country.
One easily forgets, due to their statue in senior international cricket, that Afghanistan is a quality side and rapidly on the rise. During the previous World Cup in 2018 in New Zealand, Afghanistan finished the tournament in fourth, one place ahead of South Africa. During the warm-up matches in South Africa they also beat the much more fancied England.
The Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein is also one of the host venues for six matches, and the games in the City of Roses got underway on Saturday when the United Arab Emirates beat Canada by 8 wickets. The UAE’s Jonathon Figy scored 102* in the game, and at the time of print it was the only century of the tournament thus far.
On Sunday, Bloemfontein also hosted the big clash between the defending and four-time champions, India, and Sri Lanka. This massive clash was won by India, who made light work of claiming a 90-run victory.
On Tuesday the action returned to Bloemfontein when India faced off against the new boys on the block, Japan, who saw their first match in Potchefstroom against New Zealand rained out.
Japan had a bat first and were bundled out for a meagre 41 runs, thanks to the outstanding efforts by the spinner, Ravi Bishnoi, who claimed 4/5 in his 8 overs. In the process, he also bowled three maidens. Kartik Tyagi returned figures of 3/10, while Akash Singh recorded 2/11.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Kumar Kushagra needed just 4.5 overs to chase down the meagre total of 42 runs for the win. Jaiswal was unbeaten with 29, while Kushagra scored an unbeaten 13.
For his efforts with the ball, Bishnoi was named as the man of the match.
On Friday India will be in action one again when they face the Junior Blacks Caps of New Zealand.
The last match in Bloemfontein will be contested on Saturday when South Africa will face the UAE at the Mangaung Oval.
*At the time of print the match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Bloemfontein (match 4) had not been played. – MORGAN PIEK