New Zealand became the latest nation to qualify for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 in Sri Lanka, as a series of strong displays saw them emerge victorious from the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier that concluded in Australia today.
Unbeaten throughout the event, and recording big victories in the process, the talented crop led by skipper Oscar Jackson were confirmed as the 13th team heading to next year’s main event, by virtue of finishing the tournament at the top of the standings following a convincing win in their final fixture against Indonesia on Monday.
New Zealand now join Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe as the confirmed teams in Sri Lanka 2024.
The victors enjoyed several highlights throughout the tournament, owing to a number of fine individual performances since the tournament opener on 12 June. Zac Cumming, Alex Thomson and the tournament’s top run-scorer Tom Jones (283 runs) were notable architects of New Zealand’s surge to qualification, highlighting all-round strength of the table-topping side.
Reacting to his side’s qualification for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, New Zealand captain Jackson commented, “Obviously, all of the boys are stoked about our qualification. We have been extremely lucky to have enjoyed such awesome preparation over the last few months in the lead up to this tournament.
“As a team, we are delighted to come to Darwin and play a style of cricket that we are all really proud of. I’m so proud of the way in which the boys have come together, to form such a positive and inclusive environment.
“Our squad knows that there’s still plenty of hard work to come over the next few months in the lead up to Sri Lanka, but we are pleased with the direction we are heading in as a team.”
Elsewhere, Japan enjoyed a prolific run of results despite their loss in the tournament opener. Winning their last five fixtures in Darwin to eventually finish in second place, they could also boast the tournament’s top-wicket taker, Kiefer Yamamoto-Lake, who took 17 wickets, including phenomenal figures of seven for 11 runs against Vanuatu.
Following the last round of fixtures on Wednesday, Fiji bowler Sunia Tuiwai Yalimaiwai was awarded the Player of the Tournament prize, most notably for his match-winning exploits against PNG (three for 23) and Indonesia (five for 13). Other bowlers also hit the headlines in Darwin, with no fewer than three hattricks recorded over the ten-day tournament period.
New Zealand’s qualification means just three spots remain open for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, and the final competing nations will be decided through the remaining Regional Qualifiers in Africa, Europe and Americas.
The next event, the Africa Regional Qualifier, will be held in Tanzania from 23-29 July and the teams aiming to seal their place at the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup will be Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda.
The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 will see the world’s most exciting young talent go head-to-head, continuing the event’s rich legacy of forging the future stars of the men’s game. The fifteenth edition of the tournament sees it return to Sri Lanka for the first time since 2006.