Cricket World Cup

How the U19 World Cup knockout stage works and why so many teams are playing


Hit For Six!

The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup is into its knockout stage, but the games keep coming thick and fast. Here we explain exactly how the format works and what that means for each country involved.

The battle to win the tournament follows a traditional knockout competition pattern, with the top two teams from each group making up the quarter-finals, followed by semi-finals and then a final.

So far, so simple.

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So why are there so many matches still going on at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup?

Well, being a youth tournament, the U19 Cricket World Cup is also a development opportunity for the future stars of the game, with final tournament placings also determining qualification for the tournament in two years' time.

As such, rather than sending the losing quarter-finalists home along with the third and fourth teams from the group stage, the ICC have devised a format that ensures every team plays six matches, and teams finish with a tournament placing. Here’s how…

The Super League

The top-level knockout competition at the tournament is called the Super League, where quarter-finals lead to semi-finals and then a final as well as a third-place playoff.

But, in order to give every team the maximum opportunity to play against international opposition, the losing quarter-finalists head into a bracket that exactly mirrors the primary knockout competition.

As a result, each defeated quarter-finalists heads into corresponding ‘playoff semi-finals’, which in turn are followed by a fifth-place and seventh-place playoff.

This format not only ensures that every team to have traveled to the Caribbean gets three knockout matches as well as the three group stage games, but also means the World Cup will end with a clear placing of where every country finished from first to eighth in the tournament.

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The Plate League

The teams who finished third and fourth in their respective groups all see their World Cup journeys continue in the Plate League.

The Plate is an exact replica of the format of the Super League, with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading to a Plate final, and a mirror playoff tournament held for the losing quarter-finalists.

The winners of the Plate do get a trophy of their own, but can only be ranked as high as ninth in the final tournament standings.

As with the Super League, the format of the Plate means that by the end of the World Cup there will be a clear ranking of where every country finished from ninth-place to sixteenth.

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