The 2016 Under 19 World Cup took place in Bangladesh from January 27th to February 14th and as usual featured 16 teams.
There was a late reprieve for Ireland, who only made the tournament after a last minute withdrawal from Australia, who pulled out citing security fears. That meant there were six Associate representatives with the Irish joined by Scotland, Namibia, Nepal, Fiji and Afghanistan.
The Irish were led by Jack Tector and had three sets of brothers in their squad – The Tectors, Tuckers and McClintocks. They were placed in Group D alongside competition favourites India, New Zealand and Nepal.
The Irish started with an encouraging display against India, with Rory Anders and Josh Little taking three wickets apiece, which coupled with half centuries from William McClintock and Lorcan Tucker offered much optimism for the tasks ahead despite a 78-run loss.
Alas that proved misplaced hope as they slumped to an eight-wicket loss against Nepal for whom leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane introduced himself to the wider world with a five wicket haul – later going on to feature in the world’s major T20 leagues. Nepal had earlier beaten New Zealand and would finish runners-up in the group to India, who swept all before them.
Ireland threatened an upset against New Zealand when they made 212 with runs for Jack Tector, Adam Dennison and Gary McClintock, but despite a four wicket burst by the impressive Rory Anders, they went down by four wickets with Finn Allen hitting 97.
In Group C England topped the table with Dan Lawrence – now in the England Test squad – hitting 174 in their 299-run demolition of Fiji. Lawrence was also in the runs as they beat West Indies and Zimbabwe, with wickets too for Sam Curran and Saj Mahmood.
The second place battle between West Indies and Zimbabwe was one of the most controversial in Under 19 history. The last over began with Zimbabwe’s last pair at the crease needing three runs to win. As he ran in to bowl Keemo Paul removed the bails at the bowler's end with batsman Richard Ngarava just out of his ground.
The ‘Mankad’ incident brought widespread condemnation, but the West Indies players didn’t care as they celebrated widely. Still the incident rankles nearly five years on, and Paul is still reminded of it in every interview he does.
Group B was also very competitive and after a series of tough tussles was won by Pakistan, with Sri Lanka edging out Afghanistan for second place with Canada getting the wooden spoon. Rashid Khan was very much to the fore in the Afghan bowling unit and would be a vital presence in the Plate Competition.
In Group A hosts Bangladesh proved unstoppable as they won all three matches against South Africa, Namibia and Scotland convincingly, with Nazmul Hossain Shanto hitting a century in the win against the latter. There was however a major shock as Namibia won the African derby, stunning South Africa to qualify for the main quarter-finals. They had earlier beaten Scotland by nine wickets to show they were a decent side.
In the quarter-finals though they came a cropped against India, losing heavily by 197 runs with Rishabh Pant making 111. Completing the semi-final line up were Bangladesh who beat Nepal by 6 wickets, Sri Lanka who beat England by the same margin, while West Indies prevented an all-Asian last four by chasing 227 to beat Pakistan by five wickets.
India proved too strong for Sri Lanka in a comfortable win in the first semi-final, while West Indies broke home supporters' hearts as they once again showed their mettle in a tense chase to win by three wickets with Springer and Hetmyer in the runs.
They then went on to clinch the trophy for the first time as they dismissed India for just 145, which proved little trouble for their batters, Carty and Paul in the runs in a five wicket win.
In the Plate competition, Afghanistan won the trophy for the first time as a century from Tariq and 55 from Rashid Khan saw them beat Zimbabwe for the crown.
Ireland finished in their customary 13th place as they gained Celtic bragging rights as they beat Scotland. Highlights of their Plate were Lorcan Tucker’s 77 against South Africa and Rory Anders’ four wickets against Canada, while against Scotland William McClintock and Lorcan Tucker hit fifties in a stand of 107, plus there were four wickets for Harry Tector and three for Fiachra Tucker in a convincing win.
Three players in the Irish squad have won senior caps to date – Harry Tector, Josh Little and Lorcan Tucker.