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01 February 201617:32

ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Day 7 Preview

Full preview of all matches at U19 CWC Day 7 as Bangladesh U19 faces Namibia U19 to decide Group A winner, South Africa U19 looks to salvage pride against Scotland U19 and West Indies U19 takes on Zimbabwe U19 with quarter-final spot beckoning winner

ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Day 7 Preview - Cricket News

Despite the win against South Africa U19, it is crucial that Namibia recovers from the significant mental strains that it endured in that match.

Bangladesh U19 v Namibia U19, Group A
Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium, Cox's Bazar

In Ocean’s Eleven, the crime-thriller released in 2001, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and their accomplices pull off a remarkable heist, typically Hollywood in its execution, after the movie plays on their immaculate preparation and planning. There is a bit at the end where, after robbing Andy Garcia off a fortune, each of the eleven assembles around the Bellagio Fountains and gazes at the waterworks, all smiles, speechless, and quietly content.

There is nothing remotely similar to the Bellagio Fountains in Cox’s Bazar, a pretty, pleasant place by all means, but far removed from Vegas. However, the Namibia Under-19 boys did take a stroll around the beach on Monday (February 1), quietly content at pulling off a heist against South Africa Under-19, the defending champion. It signalled the end of South Africa’s defence of its title, but more pertinently for Namibia, it ensured it of at least the eighth spot in the tournament. For a country that has had little success in any sport, that is huge.

Having assured itself of a good finish, the challenge for Namibia Under-19 now is to improve upon it. It has qualified for the quarter-final, but to make it a tad easier for itself at that stage, it will have to beat Bangladesh Under-19 on Tuesday and thereby seal top spot in Group A. That would mean a clash against Nepal Under-19, as opposed to the daunting task of facing India Under-19, which has been relentless so far.

As much of a challenge as it is from a cricketing perspective, it is perhaps more crucial that Namibia recovers from the significant mental strains that it endured in what was a riveting thriller against South Africa. Speaking after the game, Andre Schmidlin, the Namibia manager, said it was simultaneously “the best and the worst day of my life.” Why? Because while victory was eventually achieved and there was much joy everywhere, the process was excruciating for any Namibian supporter.

Having initially restricted South Africa to 136 for 9, Namibia looked well on course to bottle the chase. It lost a wicket off the first ball, was reduced to 29 for 3 and kept losing wickets till eventually only two remained. Eventually, Lohan Louwrens’s brilliant half-century steered it across the line, but the spectacle was nervy, and inappropriate for heart patients. Imagine, then, the strain on the players mentally.

Despite that, the management decided that the best way to rejuvenate them was to get them back on the training field. At 9am sharp, they were all running about the Sheikh Kamal International Stadium, and going through their paces at nets. Morale is, naturally, high in the team, and that will be an asset to any side. But lack of experience in tackling the knockout stage might also prove tricky to handle.

That said, Namibia was going about handling it the right way with coach Norbert Manyande keeping his message simple. “We’re taking it one game at a time,” he told Wisden India. “We play Bangladesh and at the moment, that’s the focus. We win that, we top the group. We’re not looking ahead at all. One game at a time.”

Namibia might be feeling buoyant, but it is imperative to keep in mind the fact that Bangladesh will be motivated by the same objectives. It has so far been unstoppable, comprehensively outplaying South Africa in the tournament opener before doubling that up with another clinical performance against Scotland Under-19.

The local fans, ever so passionate about the sport, have turned out in numbers to watch their side and they have not been disappointed. Nazmul Hossain Shanto, the middle-order batsman and their top scorer, seems a German in disguise, given his efficiency and reliability. The bowlers, meanwhile, have hunted in a pack, with Mohammad Saifuddin, the medium-pacer, Saleh Ahmed Shawon, the left-arm spinner, and Mehedi Hasan, the captain and off-spinner, chipping in and complementing each other.

Namibia will realise that pulling off heists a second time is always harder, no matter what Clooney and co. did in Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen.

Teams (from):

Bangladesh U19:
Mehedi Hassan Miraz (capt), Nazmul Hossain, Joyraj Sheik, Pinak Ghosh, Saif Hassan, Zakir Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shafiul Hayat, Saeed Sarkar, Mehedi Hasan Rana, Abdul Halim, Saleh Ahmed, Ariful Islam, Jaker Ali, Mossabek Hossain Sun.

Namibia U19: Zane Green (capt), Petrus Burger, Charl Brits, Fritz Coetzee, Niko Davin, Sj Loftie-Eaton, Mushi Honga, Burton Jacobs, Lohan Louwrens, Jurgen Linde, Michael Van Lingen, Chrischen Oliver, Francios Rautenbach, Warren Van Wyk, Eben Van Wyk.

South Africa U19 v Scotland U19, Group A
Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium Academy Ground, Cox's Bazar

South Africa has had a disastrous defence of the title it so gloriously won in 2014. It will have to settle for top billing at the Plate Championship, but before that, it will want to end the group phase on a high. For all that has gone wrong for it so far in the World Cup, it will fancy its chances against Scotland, which has comprehensively been outclassed by both Namibia and Bangladesh so far.

That said, as far as fixtures are concerned, the same rules that apply to the Super League phase are in play here as well. The team that wins this match and finishes third will take on Ireland, which suffered a four-wicket loss to New Zealand and finished at the bottom of Group D, in the quarterfinal for the ninth place playoff. The vanquished will then have the formidable task of taking on a wounded New Zealand. The stakes are still high.

Teams (from):
South Africa:
Tony de Zorzi (capt), Ziyaad Abrahams, Dean Foxcroft, Dayyaan Galiem, Willie Ludick, Wandile Makwethu, Conner McKerr, Rivaldo Moonsamy, Wiaan Mulder, Luke Philander, Farhaan Sayanvala, Lutho Sipamla, Liam Smith, Kyle Verreynne and Sean Whitehead.

Scotland: Neil Flack (capt), Haris Aslam, Ryan Brown, Scott Cameron, Harris Carnegie, Mohammad Azeem Dar, Mohammad Ghaffar, Rory Johnston, Ihtisham Malik, Finlay McCreath, Mitchell Rao, Owais Shah, Simon Whait, Jack Waller, Ben Wilkinson.

West Indies U19 v Zimbabwe U19, Group C
Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong

West Indies Under-19 has been quite a force with the bat in Group C. Shimron Hetmyer’s boys need to rely on that strength to hold them in good stead when West Indies faces Zimbabwe Under-19, with the winner assured of a spot in the quarter-final and the vanquished playing in the Plate competition.

Following its massive win against Fiji and a loss to England, West Indies is second on the points table behind unbeaten England while Zimbabwe, with an identical record, is third by virtue of a negative net run rate.

West Indies’ batsmen have been in decent touch but the bowling, which rolled Fiji over for 78, conceded 282 runs in the defeat to England. It will need a strong collective effort to get the better of Zimbabwe.

Led by Brandon Mavuta, Zimbabwe found success with the ball against Fiji when Wesley Medhevere finished with five wickets and bowled its opposition out for 81, but in the game against England, its bowling unit conceded 288 runs and it failed to come up with the goods with the bat. With near identical performances in their two games thus far, this virtual knockout clash will be as much about nerves as it will be about skill.

Teams (from):

Brandon Mavuta (capt), Trevor Chibvongodze, Jeremy Ives, Adam Keefe, Kundai Matigimu, William Mashinge, Wesley Madhevere, Rugare Magarira, Sydney Murombo, Ryan Murray (wk), Richard Ngarava, Akshay Patel, Brendan Sly, Shaun Snyder, Milton Shumba.

West Indies: Shimron Hetmyer (capt.), Shahid Crooks, Keacy Carty, Michael Frew, Jyd Goolie, Tevin Imlach, Alzarri Joseph, Ryan John, Kirstan Kallicharan, Chemar Holder, Gidron Pope, Keemo Paul, Odean Smith, Shamar Springer, Emmanuel Stewart.