ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Europe Qualifier: Scotland defeat Italy in summit clash to qualify for main event
16 teams will be competing at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Sri Lanka 2024, and Scotland became the 15th team to book a spot in the tournament.
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Saturday’s conclusion of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Europe Qualifier saw Scotland emerge victorious, topping the table in the Netherlands to confirm their place as the 15th team to qualify for the main event in Sri Lanka in January.
Needing to avoid defeat and a substantial swing in net run-rate, the Saltires led by skipper Owen Gould, comfortably defeated Italy by 151 runs to cue the celebrations and book their third successive appearance at the event.
Batting first, Scotland were well set at 193 for one before a glut of wickets fell, limiting their total to 229 from 39.4 overs. Opener Jamie Dunk top-scored for the Saltires with an impressive 96 from 99 balls, but Gurpreet Singh inspired the collapse, taking seven Scottish wickets for 25 runs from his eight overs. In reply, Italy struggled out of the blocks and never recovered, skittled for 78 after Adi Hegde took five for 15 from his nine overs.
Wins over Jersey, hosts Netherlands and Norway had preceded Saturday’s triumph, and their unbeaten campaign ensured they claimed top spot after a week of see-saw encounters between the competing nations.
Boasting a string of talented youngsters, Scotland’s collective success featured several notable individual performances. Dunk was named the Player of the Tournament for the Qualifier, ending the week with 255 runs from four matches.
The opening fixture saw seamer Alec Price claim four wickets for 29 runs to earn their first win of the campaign against Jersey. The following match was a high-scoring affair against the Netherlands, and the Saltires held off their opponents by 46 runs thanks to half-centuries from Price (82) and Bahadar Esakhiel (55). Price and Dunk (52 not out) orchestrated the win against Norway, easing to a ten-wicket win chasing down a low target of 117 thanks to a fine bowling display.
Reflecting on his side’s successful campaign in the Netherlands, Scotland captain Gould said, "It feels incredible to win the tournament and I'm really proud of everyone. It feels really good to cross the line and get to Sri Lanka.
“We had a tricky prep phase but gelled together really well this week, came together at the right time and got the four wins and we're looking forward to the next step.”
The ongoing U19 Americas Qualifier will determine the final nation to qualify for the World Cup in Sri Lanka, completing the lineup of teams heading the Sri Lanka with their sights on seizing the silverware.
The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup has a strong record of forging the careers of some of the most recognisable figures on the global stage, and just five months remain until the start of the celebrated event in Sri Lanka, where the format returns to the island nation for the first time since 2006.
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 have automatically qualified for the event as the best-placed Full Member nations from the previous event in 2022. These are: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.
The remaining five spots are being determined through regional qualification pathways, with one team from each region securing a place at the event.
Americas and EAP each host 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 have 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 will qualify to compete at 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. Scotland qualify as the 15th confirmed nation with the final team confirmed upon conclusion of the ongoing Americas Qualifier.