The top three teams from each of the original four groups in the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup have moved to the next stage of the competition – the Super Six.

This year, the World Cup is following a new format – as many as 12 sides remain in contention for the ultimate prize after the opening stage, unlike eight in the previous edition. The top teams from Groups A and D and Groups B and C will be clubbed together in the Super Six stage.

They will carry forward their points and net run-rate achieved against fellow Super Six qualifying teams from their respective groups.

Here, each side will play two encounters. These will be against those teams from the corresponding group, who finished at different group stage positions. The top two sides from these groups will then qualify for the knockout stages,

Here’s your lowdown on all the key details of what promises to be an enthralling round of fixtures:

Tournament Recap

It has been an entertaining tournament so far. There have been high-scoring contests as well as low-scoring thrillers, gutsy batting performances along with fiery bowling spells.

Group A finished with India reaching the summit after three convincing wins in Bloemfontein. Bangladesh overcame their loss to India with back-to-back wins, while Ireland qualified as the third side, defeating USA in comfortable fashion in their tournament opener.

Group D threw up the most exciting finishes of the tournament, with two contests going down to the wire. Pakistan emerged as table-toppers, but New Zealand and Nepal battled to overcome Afghanistan in one-wicket wins to seal their spots in the Super Six.

Super Six, Group 1

Team Mat Won Lost
India U19 2 2 0
Pakistan U19 2 2 0
New Zealand U19 2 1 1
Bangladesh U19 2 1 1
Nepal U19 2 0 2
Ireland U19 2 0 2

Group B witnessed stellar individual and team performances across several see-saw encounters in which the three top sides finished on equal points. Hosts South Africa won two and lost one, as did England and West Indies, who all progressed ahead of fourth-placed Scotland.

In Group C, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe enter the Super Six. Australia went undefeated in the group stage, despite tough fights against Namibia and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe finished second and third respectively.

Super Six, Group 2

Team Mat Won Lost
Australia U19 2 2 0
West Indies U19 2 1 1
South Africa U19 2 1 1
Sri Lanka U19 2 1 1
England U19 2 1 1
Zimbabwe U19 2 0 2

Top Performers

Pakistan’s Shahzaib Khan and Ubaid Shah have stood out in the runs and wickets columns respectively.

Shahzaib Khan has been the linchpin of Pakistan’s batting order thus far, and enters the Super Six stage as the highest run-scorer to date (223 runs). He’s followed by West Indies’ Jewel Andrew (196 runs) and India’s Musheer Khan (194 runs).

An anchor at the top, Shahzaib Khan has looked solid and composed in the early part of his innings before unleashing a vast array of attacking strokes. He has already won the Player of the Match award twice for his match-winning endeavours against Afghanistan (106 from 126 balls) and New Zealand (80 from 86 balls).

Shah has been Pakistan’s new-ball phenomenon. He’s the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with nine wickets, ahead of India’s Saumy Pandey and Naman Tiwari, Nepal’s Aakash Chand, and Afghanistan’s Khalil Ahmed who all stand on eight wickets apiece.

The Pakistan bowler has extracted an impressive amount of movement with the ball in his side’s early wins, taking four wickets for 26 against Afghanistan and three for 30 against New Zealand.

Leading run-scorers so far

Player Matches Inns Runs Avg Sr 4s 6s
1 Shahzaib Khan 3 3 223 111.50 79.08 23 7
2 Jewel Andrew 3 3 196 98.00 118.07 22 3
3 Musheer Khan 3 3 194 64.67 102.65 15 5
4 Jamie Dunk 3 3 187 62.33 67.27 20 -
5 Dewan Marais 3 3 187 93.50 147.24 17 8

Leading wicket-takers so far

Player Matches Overs Balls Wkts Avg Runs 4-fers 5-fers
1 Ubaid Shah 3 24.0 144 9 11.56 104 1 -
2 Saumy Pandey 3 28.5 173 8 7.25 58 1 -
3 Vishwa Lahiru 3 22.5 137 8 7.12 57 - -
4 Khalil Ahmed 3 24.0 144 8 12.25 98 1 -
5 Naman Tiwari 3 24.0 144 8 13.00 104 2 -

Players to watch out for

Jewel Andrew (West Indies)

The 17-year-old wicketkeeper-batter Andrew has stood out for the West Indies in South Africa. He almost single-handedly kept them alive in their tournament opener against the hosts. Stumbling to 73/5 in a chase of 286, Andrew’s blazing 130 from 96 put West Indies on the brink of an improbable win, smashing 14 fours and three sixes in his maiden innings.

West Indies may have failed to win that game, but Andrew kept striving for better outcomes. His unbeaten 64 against Scotland pulled the side out of trouble once more, and helped them to a five-wicket win in Potchefstroom. Australia and Sri Lanka bowlers will have their work cut out against him.

Ubaid Shah (Pakistan)

Shah’s control and movement have helped Pakistan wreak havoc with the ball. Shah has stood out in one of the best bowling units on display so far in the tournament. He’s already the highest wicket-taker in the competition, and will be a key figure if Pakistan are to make it into the knockouts.

The bowler has contributed in each of his three games. He began by blowing away Afghanistan with four wicket for 26 and then went on to star with a two for 48 on a slow wicket against Nepal. Then, under overcast conditions, he got the ball to jag around and ripped apart New Zealand’s top order in their final group game.

Kwena Maphaka (South Africa)

With seven wickets in the three Group matches, South Africa’s left-arm sensation Kwena Maphaka has made quite an impression. Maphaka lit up the opening game of the tournament with a five-wicket haul, attracting attention for his accurate, pacey yorkers.

Maphaka has since been more subdued, but remains a potent threat in the Super Six stage. With raw pace and a searing yorker up his sleeve, Maphaka can be a huge threat for Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka batters.

Musheer Khan (India)

With shots all around the wicket, Musheer Khan has been India’s batting mainstay in the tournament so far. He made a brilliant hundred against Ireland, finishing on 118 off 106 balls, and followed it up with a 76-ball 73 against USA. In an Indian line-up that has an abundance of anchors, Khan has been the accelerator and has done a terrific job.

With 194 runs in three innings at an average of 64.66, Khan is the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament so far. Notably, he’s also scored at a strike-rate of over 100 in the three games.

Having familiarised himself with the wicket at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein, Musheer sets his sights on New Zealand and Nepal in the Super Six stages. If he needs any inspiration, Khan need not look far. His brother Sarfaraz Khan has the record for the most fifty-plus scores in the U19 Men’s CWC (seven). With two in three games already, Musheer has made more than a decent start to the tournament.

Super Six Fixtures

Super Six Fixtures | Credit: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone

Key Clashes

India v New Zealand, Bloemfontein, 30 January

Defending champions India have already secured two victories with margins of over 200 runs, and are among the favourites to make it to the next round having brought the full four points over to the Super Sixes. However, New Zealand have already shown their grit, and may be able to spring a surprise in Bloemfontein.

The young Blackcaps are brimming with talent, especially in their pace department. Matt Rowe and Mason Clarke have already caught the eye and possess the ability to trouble India’s top-order, who have so far taken their time to settle in.

Bloemfontein though has been India’s fortress in the tournament to date. Their bowling line-up has enjoyed plenty of success at the venue, with Saumy Pandey, Raj Limbani, and Naman Tiwari all impressing and likely to be a handful once more.

This clash on the opening day of the Super Six stage has all the makings of a thriller.

Australia v England, Kimberley, 31 January

This matchup promises to be another entertaining tussle between two familiar foes.

Australia U19s had recently toured England in August-September 2023 and the sides played some engaging cricket, with Harry Dixon, Hamza Shaikh, Callum Vidler, and captain Hugh Weibgen among the standout players.

Having played their group encounters in Kimberley, Australia have greater familiarity with the conditions and boast a bowling unit that has bowled out their opponents in every game. However, this dynamic England team have played positive cricket throughout the tournament, and will believe they have the skills to be able to overcome Australia’s momentum.

Pakistan vs Bangladesh, Benoni, 3 February

Pakistan come into the Super Six stage with three wins in three games, while Bangladesh’s only loss came against India at the beginning of the tournament.

The record between these two teams in the U19 Men’s CWC is even: both have won two matches apiece with one match ending in no-result. In 2022, when these teams faced off in the Caribbean, Pakistan won comfortably by six wickets.

This time around Bangladesh present a different proposition. Heading into the Super Six stage on the back of two assertive back-to-back victories and recent Asia Cup success, Bangladesh won’t feel short of confidence, and could hold the key to disrupting Pakistan’s early momentum in the competition.

Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.