ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Skipper Gohar Hafeez is confident that the green-shirts would perform well in the Under-19 World Cup beginning Wednesday (January 27) in Chittagong, Bangladesh saying the team is ready to face any challenge in the mega event.
Pakistan, the only nation to win back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2006, will need to survive a tough Group B, which includes Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Canada, says a press release issued here.
Pakistan has warmed up for the tournament by winning a tri-series against Australia and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, albeit on run-rates after all three teams secured two wins each in the double-leg event.
Gohar said we are confident for the mega event. “The other teams are good but we will accept the challenge and beat them all. We are here to win the World Cup,” he said.
If both India and Pakistan top their respective groups and also win their quarter-final matches, they will set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash in Mirpur on February 11.
Three-time winner India is coached by batting great Rahul Dravid and captained by wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan, who hails from Jharkhand, the same state as World Cup-winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
England, seeking to end 18-year drought after winning its only title way back in 1998, is led by Brad Taylor, an off-spinning all-rounder from Hampshire who is one of nine players in the squad to have played county cricket at the senior level.
Bangladesh will fancy its chances on home turf with a side that boasts of five players who also took part in the previous edition in the UAE in 2014.Mehidy Hassan Miraz will captain the host nation for the second time – he led the team in the UAE two years ago when he was just 16.
South Africa will defend the title under Tony de Zorzi, hoping to repeat its UAE performance where it defeated Pakistan in the final to make up for two runners-up spots in 2002 and 2008.
The Super League quarter-finals will be played between 5 to 8 February, the semi-finals on February 9 and 11 and the final in Mirpur on February 14. The semi-finals and the finals will have reserve days.
Fixtures for Wednesday include Group A: South Africa v Bangladesh and Group C: England v Fiji. Group A: South Africa, Bangladesh, Scotland, Namibia; Group B: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Canada; Group C: England, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Group D: India, New Zealand, Nepal, Ireland.