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The official launch of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2008 will take place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Malaysia on Wednesday, November 21.

The ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2008 will be staged from 17 February to 2 March and will spread over three cities - Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor.

Besides the ICC's 10 Full Members and hosts Malaysia, five qualifiers - Namibia (from the Africa Region), Nepal (from the Asia Region), Papua New Guinea (from the East Asia-Pacific Region), Ireland (from the Europe Region) and Bermuda (from the Americas Region) - will take part in the two-week long tournament.

The 16 teams have been divided into four groups with the top two teams progressing to the Super League quarter-finals while the two bottom teams from each group will play in the Plate Championship quarter-finals. The winners of the Super League quarter-finals will qualify for the semi-finals whereas the losing quarter-finalists will play in the Super League play-offs.

The winners of the Plate Championship quarter-finals will play in the Plate Championship semi-finals while the beaten quarter-finalists will participate in the Plate Championship play-offs.

In total there will be 44 matches: 24 in the first round, seven in the Super League and 13 in the play-offs. ESPN STAR Sports, ICC's global media and production partners until 2015, will televise at least six matches live, including the two Super League semi-finals and the final.

The ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup is a vital part of the ICC Development Program and provides a vehicle for the best young cricketers in the world to parade their skills.

Many of the future stars of the game have experienced their first major international exposure at this tournament and players such as Brian Lara, Michael Atherton, Yuvraj Singh, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Chris Cairns, Michael Clarke, Graeme Smith and Sanath Jayasuriya have used the event as a stepping stone to full international honours.

First staged in Australia in 1988, the tournament was initially organised on an occasional basis, but since the commencement of the ICC Development Program in 1997 it has become a biennial fixture.

Pakistan will aim to complete a hat-trick of titles in Malaysia after winning the events in Bangladesh in 2004 and Sri Lanka in 2006. Australia is the other team to have won the tournament twice (1988 and 2002) while other winners are England (1998) and India (2000).

The 2010 ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup will be held in Kenya while the 2012 tournament will be staged in Canada and UAE will host the 2014 edition.
 
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