The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Americas Qualifier witnessed a dramatic conclusion on Friday, as USA emerged victorious, defeating Canada by seven wickets in a rain-affected winner-takes-all matchup to seal the 16th and final qualification spot at next year’s U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup. Having enjoyed strong performances against the other competitors Argentina and Bermuda earlier in the week, both teams headed into Friday’s showdown at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City, Ontario knowing that a win would see them book their tickets for Sri Lanka in January. Canada led the standings before Friday’s play, enjoying an unbeaten campaign which involved a close-fought victory over the same opposition earlier in the week, but the seven-wicket triumph meant that the USA advanced by virtue of a higher net run rate. The start was delayed following heavy rain the previous night and despite the other fixture in the group being abandoned, play went ahead with the match eventually reduced to 22 overs per side as more rain fell during play.
Batting first in difficult conditions, Canada lost early wickets and fell to 15 for three within the first six overs. After a brief recovery, the USA bowlers once more found joy, eventually restricting the home side to a modest 92 for 9 from their allotted overs. Yash Mondkar top-scored for Canada, while Utkarsh Srivastava and Parth Patel did the damage for the USA, claiming two wickets for 16 and three for 17 respectively. In reply, the USA initiated a controlled start. Opener Prannav Chettipalayam led from the front, scoring a valuable 36 runs from 39 balls. Even though they lost wickets at the other end, and stuttered in the middle overs to 58 for three, Srivastava provided enough support with 25 not out to see the visitors over the line with four overs to spare. The win sees the USA end Canadian dominance at U19 regional qualification stages, and means they will be competing at the World Cup for the first time since 2010.
Speaking after the win, USA captain Rishi Ramesh expressed his delight, “It’s a been a long journey for us in the USA and we’re finally here. We’ve made history and are proud to represent our country.” Friday’s victory was preceded by a number of sizeable winning margins. Fast run-scoring and prolific bowling performances helped lay the foundations for the decisive net run-rate advantage which saw them qualify. This included chasing down 116 inside 12 overs against Bermuda, and two big margins of victory against Argentina (450 runs and 328 runs). These wins were inspired through a number of key individual performances. Skipper Ramesh, Bhavya Mehta and the Player of the Tournament Chettipalayam (377 total runs) all scored big centuries in Toronto, while Srivastava, Patel and Aarin Nadkarni also starred, posting exceptional bowling figures across their fixtures.
The Americas Qualifier was the final event in the qualification pathway for the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, and following its conclusion, the sixteen teams set to feature in Sri Lanka are confirmed as Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, USA, West Indies and Zimbabwe. With the event having famously launched the careers of some of the best cricketers in the world, the excitement continues to build ahead of the 15th edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. In just under five months, Sri Lanka will host the most talented young players on the planet for the first time since 2006, and all competing nations, including defending champions India, will have their sights firmly set on taking home the celebrated silverware. ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 Qualification Structure
16 teams will be competing at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Sri Lanka 2024 over 41 matches. 11 teams automatically qualified for the event as the best-placed Full Member nations from the previous event in 2022. These were: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. The remaining five spots were determined through regional qualification pathways, with one team from each region securing a place at the event. Americas and EAP each hosted one qualifying event in 2023, with the winner of each event sealing a spot at the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Sri Lanka 2024. The Africa, Asia and Europe regions each had a two-step qualification structure. These regions hosted Division 2 Qualifiers in 2022 to determine the teams that will compete in the second and final qualifying event, the Regional Qualifier, with events taking place in 2023. Only the winning teams from the Regional Qualifiers qualified for the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Sri Lanka 2024. The Asia, EAP and Africa qualification pathways concluded with Nepal, New Zealand and Namibia advancing from their respective regions. Last week, Scotland became the 15th confirmed nation before USA advanced via the Americas Qualifier.