North Sound: The Super League quarterfinal stage of the U-19 ICC Cricket World Cup commences on January 26, with England set to take on South Africa at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, but what will bind the attention of the Indian fans will be the game between the Yash Dhull-led India and Bangladesh on January 29.
Four-time champions India entered the Super League stages in formidable form, having won all three of their games in Group B to finish top and set up a clash with Bangladesh, who defeated them in the final in the last edition of the tournament.
Huge centuries from Raj Bawa and Angkrish Raghuvanshi saw India conclude the group format with a massive 326-run victory over Uganda having already beaten South Africa and Ireland.
Bangladesh’s passage was not quite as smooth, with the defending 2020 champions recovering from losing their opening game to England to finish second in Group A. An eight-wicket win over Canada was followed by a nine-wicket triumph (DLS) in a rain-interrupted game against UAE to set up a rematch of the final two years ago.
And while India will fancy avenging their three-wicket defeat in the 2020 showpiece, Bangladesh are finding their stride at just the right time to set the stage for a keen contest.
Like India, England have reached the Super League stage with a clean sweep, following up that win over Bangladesh with 106 and 189-run victories over Canada and UAE, respectively.
Tom Prest has led from the front for England, scoring 93 and an unbeaten 154 in his last two outings to set up a showdown with Group B runners-up South Africa in the last eight.
The 2014 champions South Africa shook off their opening defeat to India to beat Uganda by 121 runs before dispatching Ireland with a 153-run victory (DLS) in a rain-affected contest.
A century from skipper George Van Heerden last time out, as well as the superb form of Dewald Brevis with the bat, will give South Africa confidence they can beat the 1998 champions.
Elsewhere, the two teams yet to win the ICC U19 Men’s CWC will also face off against each other for a semi-final place as Group D winners Sri Lanka take on Group C runners-up Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka topped a tough group that included three-time champions Australia and hosts West Indies, beating both teams and Scotland to lay down an impressive marker.
Afghanistan sandwiched a defeat to Group C winners Pakistan with wins over Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe as Suliman Safi starred with the bat to take Player of the Match in both victories.
And completing the Super League quarterfinal line-up is the showdown between Pakistan and Australia — two of the most successful teams in this competition behind India, according to ICC.
Two-time winners Pakistan have several match-winners and swept through Group C with a perfect record as they beat Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea.
Australia, on the other hand, had to settle for second in Group D after losing by four wickets to Sri Lanka in between Teague Wyllie-inspired wins over West Indies and Scotland.
But while Pakistan have momentum on their side, Australia are well-versed with the latter stages of this competition and will be looking to add to their 1988, 2002 and 2010 titles.