Zim U19 relegated to Plate League

HARARE - Zimbabwe's hunt for the ICC Under 19 World Cup came to a crashing end after the side suffered a 10-wicket defeat at the hands of India in the final Group B match at Mount Maunganui, New Zealand yesterday.

The local teenagers will, however, remain in New Zealand competing in the less fashionable Plate League featuring the bottom eight teams from the 16-team tournament with the other eight top two teams from the four groups proceeding to the Super League (quarter-final) where they all have a chance to put their hands on the World Cup.

Winners of the Plate League will exit the World Cup in number nine.

Yesterday, Zimbabwe’s batting woes continued after they were bundled out for 154 runs in 48.1 overs after captain Liam Roche won the toss and elected to bat.

Milton Shumba top scored with 36 runs at top of the order while skipper Roche and Wesley Madhevere added 31 and 30 runs respectively up the order while the rest of the batsmen struggled to make an impression.

In reply, India reached 155 runs for no loss in 21.4 overs with Indian openers Shubman Gill (90) and Harvik Desai (56) both scoring unbeaten half centuries while Zimbabwe used a total of eight different bowlers in search of the elusive wicket.

Earlier before the clash against India, Zim U19 coach Steve Mangongo had expressed discontent over the contrasting team schedules which he described as “unfair” towards his charges.

Mangongo felt that contrasting travel schedules, matches on alternate days and little downtime between games against Australia and India have hampered Zimbabwe’s preparations.

In the only rest day they had between “two of our biggest games in the tournament”, the team had to fly out from Christchurch to Tauranga and then watch their only training session called off because of rain.

India, meanwhile, have had the luxury of being based in Tauranga for the group stages.

Having taken little more than three hours to beat Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, the side has enjoyed plenty of rest.

They have had an opportunity to climb the Mount, indulge in shopping, watch the Indian hockey team beat Japan in a four-nation tournament, have light pool sessions and even enjoy a day out at Bay Oval to watch South Africa take on West Indies.

Mangongo, the former Zimbabwe senior cricket team coach, blasted the organisers for preferential treatment over the more established teams such as India to the detriment of his side.

“No team is bigger than the other, they’re all youth cricketers at the end of the day. Definitely, we believe that in a tournament of this nature, there should be an even playing field.

“If it’s a two-day break, it should be a two-day break for everyone. If it’s a three-day break, it should be a three-day break for everyone.

“In our instance, we played yesterday, we travelled the next day, the same travelling day is the training day, and the next day is the matchday,” Mangongo said.

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