HomeSportCricketWest Indies, India favourites to progress to Super League stage

West Indies, India favourites to progress to Super League stage

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QUEENSLAND — West Indies and two-time former champion India are odds-on favourites to qualify for the Super League stage from Group C of the ICC U–19 Cricket World Cup 2012, which will be staged from August 11-26 in Queensland, Australia.

Apart from the two powerhouses of cricket, Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea are the other two sides in the group whose matches will be played in Townsville.

The West Indies has only once appeared in a Super League final (2004 Bangladesh) where it lost to Pakistan.

However, it has lost four times in the semi-finals, twice to Pakistan (in 1988 and 2010), once to Australia (2002 in New Zealand) and once to England in 2004. While in 2006, it lost to India in the quarter-final before winning the Plate Championship in 2008 in Malaysia.

The West Indies side will be captained by Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite who has played in nine Tests.

Apart from Brathwaite, Ronsford Beaton, Kavem Hodge and Amir Khan are the players who have played first-class cricket, while John Campbell is the only player in the side who played in the previous World Cup in New Zealand.

Previewing the group, Braithwaite said: “We expect to play good cricket and if we do, we expect to advance to the second round and beyond. But we will not underestimate the opponents. Cricket is a great game and you have to be at your best at all times, no matter who you play against. We have to go out there and play every game hard.”

Braithwaite hoped the West Indies will be able to break its title drought, adding the preparations for the event have been excellent.

India has been seeded sixth for this year’s ICC U–19 CWC 2012, but it has been a two-time former champion and has produced star cricketers like Virender Sehwag, Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli, Irfan Pathan among others from this event over the years.

India finished sixth in the first two events in 1988 and 1998 before winning the 2000 event in Sri Lanka. It then lost successive semi-finals — to South Africa in 2002 and Pakistan in 2004 — before losing the 2006 final to Pakistan. India’s second title came in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 while in 2010 it again lost to Pakistan in the quarter-final and finished sixth.

Zimbabwe is seeded 10th after finishing in a disappointing 13th position in 2010 after having finished 14th in the event before in Malaysia. In 2002, in New Zealand, Zimbabwe won the Plate Championship and in 2004 in Bangladesh it finished third in the Super League.

Zimbabwe will be led by all-rounder Matthew Bentley while vice-captain Kevin Kasuza and Nyasha Mayavo are the only players with experience of first-class cricket.

PNG will be appearing in its sixth ICC U–19 CWC after having missed out on 1988, 2000 and 2006 events. In 1998, 2002 and 2004, PNG finished fourth in the Plate Championship while it lost the Plate Championship semi-final to the West Indies in 2008 before finishing 12th in the 2010 event.

The side will be led by middle-order batsman Chris Kent while right-handed batsman Lega Siake will be the vice-captain.

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