SA U19's off to winning start
Yaseen Valli (Gallo Images)
The South Africa under-19s got their ICC U19 World Cup campaign off to a flying start when they convincingly beat the West Indies by 94 runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
South Africa top the Group C log by virtue of a superior run rate to Zimbabwe, who beat Canada by six wickets.
South Africa did well to post a 198-run total after tough start.
They lost two wickets in the first six overs when captain, Aiden Markram was dismissed by Ray Jordan for three in the second over, followed by Clyde Fortuin (4) in the sixth.Jason Smith
and Greg Oldfield brought calm to the innings, adding a valuable 65-run, third-wicket stand before the former was removed by Ramaal Lewis for 29. Oldfield departed for 38 two overs later (27.4) at the hands of the same bowler.
South Africa were 88/4 when Yaseen Valli came to the crease, and went on to make South Africa’s top individual score of 53 off 57 balls.
His half-century came at a run a ball, but he lost three batting partners from run outs (Bradley Bopp 4, Driaan Bruwer 0, Corbin Bosch 5) in his quest.
He found a lasting partner in Justin Dill (34*) and together, added 62 runs that changed the face of the game.
South Africa lost nine wickets in their effort to score their 198, but were also assisted by the opposition who gifted them 20 runs in extras.
While South Africa were satisfied with their eventual score, the Windies would also be happy that it was a competitive score to chase down.
They had an abysmal start however, losing three wickets in the first three overs, thanks to some sharp bowling and fielding by the young Proteas.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul, son of legendary West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was run out for a duck by Dill off the first delivery of the innings. He was followed by Shimron Hetmyer (0) and Jonathan Drakes (0) who were both removed by Kagiso Rabada.
Rabada struck for a third time at the start of the ninth over to remove Jeremy Solozano for one to wrap up a noteworthy spell of 3/14 in eight overs, including three maidens.
Valli and Dill returned to take two wickets each along with Corbin Bosch to maintain their stranglehold over the Windies and ultimately bowled them out for 104.
Valli was delighted with the team’s performance and thrilled to have stepped up when the side needed him to do so.
“It was a really good game for the guys,” he said.
“It was a character-testing match for all of us, including the West Indians.
"It’s good to see that we were able to put together a couple of good partnerships to dig ourselves out of trouble when things got sticky and KG (Rabada) got us off to a brilliant start with the ball and the rest of us just followed suit.”
Markram was glad to get a win but was mindful of areas that the side need to work on.
“There will be a few of us who will be disappointed with our performances with the bat, myself included,” he said.
“But for a captain, it’s great to know that there are senior guys like Yas (Valli) and Dilly (Dill) who can step up and move us forward. Greg (Oldfield) and Jason (Smith) also did really well to move our innings forward after a rocky start.
"Now we move on to prepare for our next game where we’ll make sure to iron out the creases that showed up in this one.”
South Africa will take on Canada on Sunday, 16 February at the Abu Dhabi Oval and they do not plan to take them lightly.
“It would be a big mistake to underestimate any side in a World Cup,” Markram continued.
“We will be playing every game like it’s a final and we’re looking forward to playing against a team that we have never seen or played before.”
Play begins at 07:30 South African time.
The televised match will be England vs. Sri Lanka.