The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the schedule for the Under-19 World Cup, which will be held from January 13 to February 3, 2018 in New Zealand.
Defending champions West Indies will open their campaign against hosts New Zealand in the inaugural Group A day-night fixture of the U-19 Cricket World Cup, which will feature 16 teams across seven venues in four cities – Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga and Whangarei.
Pakistan will play their first match against Afghanistan on January 13, the opening day of the tournament.
The 10 Test playing nations (prior to Afghanistan and Ireland’s recent inclusion) gained automatic qualification to the event, along with the best finishing associate from the last edition, Namibia.
Past alumni of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup include current captains Steve Smith (Australia), Virat Kohli (India), Kane Williamson (New Zealand) and Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan).
The other teams in Group A are 2012 champion South Africa and Africa qualifier Kenya. Three-time champions India and Australia are clubbed together in Group B along with Zimbabwe and East Asia Pacific qualifier Papua New Guinea.
Bangladesh, Canada, England and Namibia comprise Group C, while two-time champions Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Asia qualifier Afghanistan and Europe qualifier Ireland form Group D in what is the 11th edition of the tournament and the third to be held in New Zealand.
The final will be played at Bay Oval in Tauranga on February 3, while both semi-finals will be played at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on January 29 and 30.
Entry to the grounds will be free for the ICC U-19 World Cup.