Christchurch — Zimbabwe take on Sri Lanka in the ICC U19 CWC Plate semi-final at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, today.
With both nations having missed out on Super League qualification, Liam Roche and Kamindu Mendis will lead out their respective sides as they bid to reach the Plate final.
A classy batting display underpinned by a sensational 191 from Hasitha Boyagoda helped Sri Lanka crush Kenya by 311 runs in the Plate quarter-final — the joint-second biggest winning margin in the history of the tournament.
Sri Lanka’s 419/3 was their highest-ever score in a Youth ODI and the fourth-highest overall. Earlier in the tournament, Sri Lanka beat Ireland in their opening fixture before defeats to Pakistan and Afghanistan ended any hopes of qualifying for the Super League stage.
Zimbabwe began their tournament with a crushing defeat of Papua New Guinea, who they skittled for 95 before claiming victory with 10 wickets and 36 overs to spare.
Two defeats followed as they lost to Australia by seven wickets and India by 10 wickets, leaving them third in Group B.
But a seven-wicket quarter-final victory against Namibia saw Zimbabwe qualify for the Plate semi-final.
Hasitha Boyagoda of Sri Lanka is the player to watch. The right-handed opening batsman will be entering this match with confidence. Boyagoda smashed 191 against Kenya — the highest-ever score in a Youth ODI.
The innings, which included 26 fours and two sixes, broke Jakob Bhula’s record made just six days earlier against the same opposition.
You couldn’t help, but feel sorry for Kenya’s bowlers; after Boyagoda’s assault, Abhishekh Chidambaran emerged with the inning’s best economy rate, at 6.80.
For Zimbabwe, they will be looking up to Wesley Madhevere for inspiration. Madhevere is both the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker for Zimbabwe, and the only player to have made a fifty.
Following up his 53* and three wickets against Papua New Guinea, he posted 47 and claimed 2/11 from his six overs against Namibia.
An opening batsman and skilful off-spin bowler, Zimbabwe will likely need him to fire if they are to make the Plate final.
Zimbabwe have appeared at all 10 tournaments since their reintroduction in 1998, with a best finish of sixth in 2004.
Meanwhile, the best Sri Lanka have fared at the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup was in 2000, when they finished runners-up after losing to India in the final in Colombo. They reached the semi-finals in 2010 and 2016.
Zimbabwe: Liam Roche (c), Gregory Dollar, Donald Mlambo, Tanunurwa Makoni, Jayden Schadendorf, Milton Shumba, Alistair Frost, Dion Myers, Nkosilatu Nunu, Jonathan Conolly, Wesley Madhevere, Kieran Robinson, Robert Chimhinya, Tinashe Nenhunzi, Taun Harrison.
Sri Lanka: Kamindu Mendis (c), Dhananjaya Lakshan, Santhush Gunathilaka, Hasitha Boyagoda, Nawanidu Fernando, Nipun Dananjaya, Ashen Bandara, Kishan Sanjula, Nishan Madushka, Jehan Daniel, Praveen Jayawickrama, Haren Buddila, Thisaru Rashmika, Kalana Perera, Nipun Malinga