ACC U-19 PREMIER: A STEP AWAY FROM A WORLD CUP

The captains of the teams at the pre-event gathering (Afghanistan had not yet arrived in Kuwait) - from left: Waruna Perera (UAE), Arjun Chapagain (Nepal), Meezan Ali (Kuwait), Pavandeep Singh (Malaysia), Omar Imtiaz Chaudhry (Saudi Arabia)

This year's ACC U-19 Premier serves as the qualifying round for the ICC U19 World Cup of 2016 to be played in Bangladesh. Kuwait are the hosts and have as strong a chance as any of the others - Afghanistan, Malaysia, Nepal, UAE - who have already played in U19 World Cups. Saudi Arabia are the other contenders and as ever, have the potential to go all the way themselves.

Afghanistan are the form team, proven match-winners already, having just beaten Pakistan in a five-match series, but following those travails, have had to endure visa issuing delays, suffer a faulty plane at Kabul airport and two subsequent missed connections, and will only arrive in Kuwait hours before their first scheduled game, against Malaysia. "They are an experienced team and are likely to cope but other teams at their best will be a match for them and it should be a very even contest," says ACC Development Officer and Match Referee Aminul Islam who himself played in the first U19 World Cup for Bangladesh.



The winner of this event joins the Test-playing countries and the winners of the U-19 qualifiers from the other four regions of the ICC - Africa, Americas, East Asia-Pacific, Europe. The 16th spot in Bangladesh will go to the best of the second-place finishers from the regions who will play in a separate repechage event after this one.

All matches are live ball-by-ball on Cricinfo

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Filed November 9th, 2014