Cricket's blogosphere space has been dominated by the IPL player auction over the last 2-3 days. On Well Pitched I covered the entire auction and then gave my 2 cents on what I thought about it. The other blogs that I frequent - Soulberry's TCWJ, Uncle J's Cricket with Balls, and Ottayan's midoff, have all shared their views on what went down at the Hilton Towers in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Apart from the blogosphere, the TV channels, newspapers, and other cricket websites on the net have also been driven into a frenzy over the IPL auction that other cricket going on around the world has been slightly ignored. Thus I thought it was a good time to shift the focus from what went down in Mumbai to whats been happening in Malaysia.
The U-19 World Cup enters the Quarter Finals stage tomorrow and this is what the line-up looks like:
QF1: Bangladesh vs South Africa
QF2: India vs England
QF3: Sri Lanka vs New Zealand
QF4: Pakistan vs Australia
Apart from the Windies, all major teams have made it to the knockout stage. Bangladesh's presence in the last 8 may seem like a surprise but their U-19 players managed to get there with an unbeaten record. They managed convincing wins over Bermuda and Ireland and then stunned England with a 13 run win to finish top of their pool.
The other 3 Asian teams also entered the Quarter Finals with an unbeaten record topping their respective pools. Defending champions Pakistan easily beat hosts Malaysia and Zimbabwe and won a close game against the Kiwis. Not surprisingly, all 3 victories were set up by the Paki bowlers.
The Indian young guns won their 3 matches convincingly and topped the toughest pool of round 1 beating Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and the Windies. The Indian U-19 batsmen have looked in devastating form. Any surprise that the Indian and Pakistani U-19 teams are similar to their seniors - one reliant on their batting and the other on their bowling.
The Lankans have looked very impressive easily brushing aside Nepal, Namibia, and a strong Australian side. The Lankan seniors could learn a trick or two from their junior counterparts on how to beat Australia.
The Quarterfinals get underway tomorrow and I'm rooting for an all Asian clash in the semis. Its a pity though that the repeat of the 2006 U-19 WC Final is out of the question because if Pakistan and India win their Quarters, they will come face to face in the Semis as per the tournament format.
All those rooting for an All Asian Semi Final Clash, say EYE!