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Under-19 WC: India, Pakistan ready for quarter-final clash

Last updated on: January 22, 2010 19:07 IST

The ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2010 in New Zealand has reached the sudden-death stage with eight teams remaining in the hunt for the trophy while the lower qualifiers battle for the Plate Championship competition.

In what promises to be the match of the tournament so far, defending champion India meets two-time former winners Pakistan in the quarter-final in Lincoln on Saturday.

The subcontinent rivals weren't expected to meet so early in the tournament. But after a less than convincing performance with the bat against England on Thursday, India finished second in Group A having earlier dispatched Afghanistan and Hong Kong. The side will be looking to impressive fast bowler Saurabh Netrawalkar to utilise the conditions with the new ball.

Pakistan, meanwhile, have unearthed a potential superstar in Muhammad Babar Azam, who has scored 260 runs at an average of 130 at the top of the order. The side won a close three-way chase with the West India and Bangladesh to finish top of Group D with its final group match against Bangladesh going down to the last over.

India captain Ashok Menaria said his side is positive despite going down to England.

"Although we lost, we're pretty confident," he said. "With one loss a good team doesn't become bad."

Pakistan captain Azeem Ghumman said his side will go into the bat with its confidence high.

"All the boys are good enough to perform against any team -- not just India -- and I'm very hopeful that they will do well."

In the other quarter-final on Saturday in Rangiora, Group A winner England faces a dangerous West Indies, who finished second in Group D.

England cantered through its first two matches, but was tested by a talented Indian team in the final group match before coming out on top largely thanks to Ben Stokes' magnificent century.

West Indies secured wins against Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea (PNG) after losing its first match of the tournament to Pakistan by 40 runs. Kraigg Braithwaite showed his talent with knocks of 92 not out against Pakistan and 82 against the PNG. The side's key victory came against Bangladesh when it fought back to win by one-run.

Sunday brings another two intense clashes with South Africa taking on Sri Lanka and host New Zealand facing former winner Australia.

South Africa has progressed with wins against Ireland, the USA and an exciting two-wicket win over Australia to top Group B. South Africa has a real weapon in Dominic Hendricks at the top of the order and the Sri Lanka seamers, including an in-form skipper Chathura Peiris, will have to be on top of their game to counter his stroke-play.

New Zealand, who topped in Group C, will face an experienced Australia which has four players with first-class experience but had failed to finish top of Group B after a close loss to South Africa.

New Zealand has flown under the radar with comprehensive victories against Canada and Zimbabwe, followed by a solid performance against Sri Lanka, chasing down 196 to win with 40 balls and six wickets in hand, thanks largely to Harry Boam's 85 not out.