The triumphant England side featured four future Test players, while a certain Chris Gayle lit up the tournament.
Taking place in South Africa a full decade after the first tournament, the 1998 U19 Cricket World Cup was a memorable one in terms of the talent it fostered. It was also the start of the tournament turning into a biennial event.
England won what remains their only triumph, with a certain off-spinner making an appearance. That was Graeme Swann, who went on to take 255 Test wickets, but it was by no means a stellar campaign for him. He only managed six scalps across the tournament, in a team also containing future England Test players Rob Key, Owais Shah, who skippered the side, and Chris Schofield.
India boasted the adolescent talents of Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh. Sehwag struggled in the middle order, managing 76 runs across six innings, although he did pick up seven wickets, but that was bettered by Harbhajan, who managed eight.
Pakistan had two stars in Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Malik, the former scoring 151 runs and taking 12 wickets to mark a solid tournament. Malik was less impressive, making only 45 runs, but he did claim eight victims. When the two subcontinental powerhouses met at Kingsmead, Durban, a record crowd of over 10,000 attended.
It was West Indies’ youngsters that were the standout players of the tournament, despite not making the final. Chris Gayle top-scored with 364 runs and would go on to break many batting records, such as being the first man to score an international century in all three formats. He played alongside Ramnaresh Sarwan, who excelled as a batsman in his senior career, but ended as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 16 victims.
In the two pools of four to decide the finalists, six of the teams ended up on four points with two wins from three, as England and New Zealand progressed on net run rate. A Stephen Peters century then saw England home in the final.
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