Hosts South Africa will open their campaign against Afghanistan in next year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, a tournament that showcases the world’s future cricket stars.

South Africa, hosts in 1998 and champions in 2014, play their opening match at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on 17 January. The United Arab Emirates and Canada are the other teams they will have to contend with in Group D of the 16-team tournament, the final of which is scheduled for 9 February.

In other matches slated over the first few days, New Zealand take on Japan who will be making their debut in an ICC global event at the North West University Oval In Potchefstroom on 18 January while defending champions India play Sri Lanka at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on 19 January. Nigeria, who are also making their ICC event debut will face Australia in Kimberley on 20 Jan for their opening game.

Benoni and Kimberley are the other host cities for the 13th edition of the tournament, being played as per the format used in previous editions, with the second phase dividing the teams into Super League and Plate tournaments. The top two teams from each of the four groups advance to the Super League while the remaining teams feature in the Plate championship.

The JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom will be a key venue as it hosts two Super League quarterfinals, both semi-finals and the final.

The top 11 full Members in the last edition in New Zealand and the five regional champions, who have qualified for the event, will also play warm-up matches from 12-15 January in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Nigeria (Africa) also make an appearance for the first time along with Japan (East Asia Pacific). Nigeria (Africa) and Japan (East Asia Pacific) are joined by other regional qualifiers Canada (Americas), United Arab Emirates (Asia) and Scotland (Europe).

Canada’s participation in the South Africa hosted 2020 U19 World Cup was secured by means of its emergence as winners of the Americas Region Qualification Tournament, which was held in Toronto earlier this year, from July 8-15. Canada’s Under 19 cricketers defeated their USA archrivals by 5 wickets to win the final round robin match of the Tournament and emerge unbeaten. Both teams had cruised through the tournament, each recording one-sided wins over the other three competing countries: Argentina, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Canada’s participation in the ICC 2020 ICC World Cup should serve as an inspirational boost to the further development and growth of Canadian Cricket, said Tony McWatt, Publisher of Wickets: Cricket Canada’s Monthly Online Magazine.

“The opportunity for our elite U19 players to demonstrate their talents on such a global stage, will hopefully serve as an inspiration for others to want to follow in their footsteps. Canada’s participation in previous ICC U19 World Cup has resulted in the progression of players such as Nitish Kumar and Abraash Khan to the Canadian National Senior Team. As such our expectations are that the ICC 2020 U19 World Cup will also serve to identify similar talents from within the Squad that will be representing Canada in South Africa!”

Groupings:

Group A: India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Japan
Group B: Australia, England, West Indies, Nigeria
Group C: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Scotland
Group D: Afghanistan, South Africa, UAE, Canada