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Preview: After comprehensively winning their opening game against Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe can secure their passage to the quarter-finals of the 2018 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup with victory over Australia. If they don’t win however, they will almost certainly need to beat India in their final game, a most unenviable task.
Australia, meanwhile, face two must-wins if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals, having lost their opening game against India. But with their two upcoming games on-paper easier fixtures, they will be confident of doing so. However, they have left themselves no room for a slip-up.
Players to watch
Jason Sangha (Aus)
One of the most highly regarded young batsmen in Australia, Jason Sangha already has a first class century against England to his name. But he will need to do more than just bat well against Zimbabwe; with his team having struggled collectively against India, he will need to display all his captaincy skills to ensure there is no hangover from that game.
Wesley Madhevere (Zim)
The opening batsman and off-spinner was stellar against PNG, and could have been player of the match for his exploits in either discipline. How Zimbabwe start with the bat against Australia could define the game, and as such, his role at the top of the order could prove pivotal.
Head to head
History tells us not to expect a close game – neither team has ever gotten within 100 runs or seven wickets with the other. Australia currently lead 4-1, with three of those wins coming in a quadrangular series in India in 2003, and the fourth coming in their first clash during the 1998 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup. Between those, Zimbabwe triumphed by seven wickets – and with almost two-thirds of their overs remaining – as they gunned down 74 with relative ease. Future Test cricketers Tinashe Panyangara and Elton Chigumbura claimed all 10 Australian wickets between them that day.
World Cup history
Australia won the first-ever ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 1988, and have since added the 2002 and 2010 titles to their collection. Featuring among the teams were future international cricketers Stuart Law, George Bailey, Shaun Marsh, and Josh Hazlewood. Australia chose not to compete at the 2016 edition of the tournament due to the threat of terrorism.
Zimbabwe have appeared at all 10 tournaments since its reintroduction in 1998, with a best finish of 6th in 2004. They finished 10th at the most recent competition. Some notable individual performers include Mluleki Nkala in the 1998 edition, who was the joint-leading wicket taker, Tinashe Panyangara, who took the second-best figures of the tournament’s history in 2004 – 6/31 as Australia were bundled out for 73 – and Tatenda Taibu, who was Man of the Series in 2002 for his run-scoring, wicket-taking, and, when he wasn’t bowling, wicket-keeping feats.
After three days of glorious sunshine, showers are expected to return to Lincoln some time around lunch, but there should still be enough good weather to allow the fixture to be completed.
Zimbabwe: Liam Roche (cap), Gregory Dollar, Donald Mlambo, Tanunurwa Makoni, Jayden Schadendorf, Milton Shumba, Alistair Frost, Dion Myers, Nkosilatu Nunu, Jonathan Conolly, Wesley Madhevere, Kieran Robinson, Robert Chimhinya, Tinashe Nenhunzi, Taun Harrison.
Australia: Jason Sangha (cap), Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Jack Edwards, Zak Evans, Jarrod Freeman, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Nathan McSweeney, Jonathan Merlo, Lloyd Pope, Jason Ralston, Param Uppal, Austin Waugh
This article first appeared on ICC-Cricket.com, reproduced with permission.