Five-time winners and defending champions India will open their campaign at next year's U-19 World Cup against Bangladesh, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Friday.
Featuring a total of 16 teams, the U-19 World Cup will be held from January 13 to February 4 in Sri Lanka, with the hosts taking on Zimbabwe in the tournament-opener in Colombo.
India are the most successful team in the tournament, having lifted the trophy on five occasions -- 1999-00, 2007-08, 2012, 2017-18 and last year in the West Indies during the 2021-22 edition.
India are placed in Group A along with Bangladesh, Ireland and USA. After taking on Bangladesh on January 14, India will face the USA on January 18 and Ireland on January 20.
"The teams will be divided into four groups, each consisting of four teams, the top three teams from each group will now progress to the Super Six stage. Group stage matches will take place from 13 to 21 January," the ICC said.
"Additionally, the fourth-placed teams in each group will compete in one more match against another fourth-placed team before concluding their tournament," it added.
After the conclusion of the group stage, 12 teams will move to the Super Six stage wherein they will be divided into two groups of six teams each.
Top three teams from Groups A and D will form one group in Super Six stage and similarly, top three sides from Groups B and C will be the part of the second group.
Based on their positions in the initial group stage, each team will play two matches in the Super Six stage against the second and third teams from the other group.
"For instance, the top team in Group A (A1) will play against the second and third teams in Group D (D2 and D3). A2 will play against D1 and D3, and so forth,” the ICC said while explaining the format.
The two teams finishing on the top of their respective Super Six groups will make it to the semifinals, with the final to be played on February 4 at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.
The tournament will be preceded by a round of warm-up matches to be played from January 6-12.
Hosts Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe have made it to the tournament through automatic qualification.
The teams coming into the tournament through regional qualification are Namibia (Africa Regional Qualifier), Nepal, New Zealand (EAP Regional Qualifier), Scotland (Europe Regional Qualifier) and USA (Americas Regional Qualifier).
The tournament will be played across five venues in the island nation at Nondescripts Cricket Club, R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, P Sara Oval, Colombo Cricket Club and Singhalese Sports Club.
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