United Arab Emirates have qualified for 2020 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, after remaining undefeated in the Asia Division 1 qualifiers in Malaysia and earning their ticket to the main draw, only for the 2nd time in their U19 history, after having made their maiden appearance in 2014, being direct entries as the host of the tournament.
The match touted as the crucial encounter of the tournament between UAE U19 and Nepal U19 lived up to it’s billing until rain decided to play spoilsport and had UAE U19 win by the thinnest of margins possible (1 run) in the DLS (Duckworth-Lewis-Stern) method and leave Nepal U19 ruing their luck. Nepal U19, who came in as the tournament favourites, finished 2nd in the points table after winning all their remaining games.
Such is the cut-throat nature of these Associate member qualifiers, often becoming the graveyard of many emerging talents, who don’t get to shine at the global stage and are lost in time with the only feeling being “if only”. But the fact remains that U19 Cricket World Cup remains a 16-team event, with Top 11 finishes in the previous edition getting direct entries for the next one and the remaining 5 places decided by regional qualifiers.
Still, the Asia Division 1 qualifiers did throw up some notable names for the future. Kuwait’s Meet Bhavsar (161 runs in 5 matches), who recently made his senior T20I debut in the ACC Western Region T20 tournament in Oman, made the first century of the tournament against Malaysia U19. Kuwait U19 finished 3rd in the tournament with 3 wins in 5 games, the defeats coming against UAE and Nepal. Oman, Singapore and Malaysia could notch up a solitary win in their respective campaigns.
Although we don’t anticipate that the number of countries in the U19 Cricket World Cup will drastically increase from 16 to 18 or 20, but if in the future the tournament is brought down from the 50-overs format to a T20 format, then the increase in the number of countries could be one of the solutions to see that more countries/players get the opportunity to play the World Cup.
Nepal’s Rohit Paudel finished as the tournament top-scorer with 194 runs from 5 matches, followed by Malaysia’s Aslam Khan (193 runs in 5 matches), UAE’s Syed Haider (189 runs in 5 matches), Kuwait’s Meet Bhavsar (161 runs in 5 matches) and Nepal’s Rit Gautam (156 runs in 5 matches) rounding off the top 5.
Among the bowlers, UAE’s Aryan Lakra (13 wickets in 5 matches) was the tournament’s top wicket-taker, followed by Kuwait’s Abdul Sadiq (11 wickets in 5 matches) & Hamoud Amanullah (10 wickets in 5 matches), UAE’s Muhammad Farazuddin (10 wickets in 5 matches) and Nepal’s Pawan Sarraf (9 wickets in 5 matches), completing the top 5.
The countries will again be in action in their respective regional (Eastern and Western) qualifiers for Asian Cricket Council U19 Asia Cup in the coming months. The schedule for the Western region qualifiers is already announced with 8 teams vying for one spot into the U19 Asia Cup in 2019 in Sri Lanka.
ICC U19CWC Asia Division 1 Qualifiers Points Table