Zimbabwe has been drawn in Group C along with South Africa, West Indies and Canada for the 10th International Cricket Council (ICC) Under19 Cricket World Cup that takes place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Valentine’s Day (February 14) to March 1 2014.
The tournament will feature 16 teams, playing 48 matches, across seven venues in the UAE during the 15-day period. ICC Full members have automatic qualification for the tournament. The other six spots are reserved for associate countries who have to gain qualification through a round of matches that are played during the time leading up to the event. Joining the Full Members at the 2014 event will be, Afghanistan, Canada, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and the hosts, United Arab Emirates.
In recent years Zimbabwe has not been faring well at the event and will need a lot of courage and determination to put on a good show against neighbours, South Africa and West Indies. At the 2012 event, where Zimbabwe finished placed 15th, they were in the same group with West Indies and that group match did not go well for Zimbabwe, losing by 6 wickets after setting a lowly 148 runs in 50 overs. South Africa finished last year’s tournament in third place.
Zimbabwe faces Canada on the opening day at the Abu Dhabi Oval 1 in what will probably be their least challenging match of the tournament, but they cannot afford to write off the Canadians. The qualification matches have enhanced Canada’s experience as a unit and will definitely put the Zimbabweans to the test.
Current and former Zimbabwean International players who featured at the ICC Under19 Cricket World Cup before making it to the big stage include Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu, Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer and Sean Williams. 2006 is Zimbabwe’s most succesfull year to date, in the history of the event, when they went all the way to the fifth place play-off.