Cape Town - Jonathan Bird continued his good form with a second century of the series as the South Africa under-19s were defeated in the penultimate Youth One-Day International (ODI) against Pakistan in Chatsworth on Friday.
The sub-continent side overcame South Africa by 60 runs to take a six-nil lead in the seven-match series.
Pakistan won the toss and chose to set a score, posting a competitive 282 all out thanks to Rohail Nazir’s 74 off 94 balls (8 fours, 1 six). In the hosts' reply, Bird stood tall again, smashing a faster than a run-a-ball hundred (112 off 106 balls; 10 fours, 4 sixes), his second in as many games before the SA under-19s were bowled out for 222 in 46 overs.
Earlier in the day, the tourists made another good start to their outing with the bat. Man of the Match Nazir and Basit Ali recorded a dominant 146-run partnership for the second wicket, the latter scoring his second Youth ODI fifty (73 off 96 balls; 8 fours, 1 six). Despite the fall of both batters slowing the scoring rate, Pakistan's middle order made valuable contributions keep the scoreboard ticking.
Haris Khan (33), Irfan Niazi (46) and Fahad Munir (16) all added crucial runs on the board before a combination of run outs and scalps from fast bowlers, Lifa Ntanzi (2/36) and Gerald Coetzee helped make inroads and cleaned up the tail. Coetzee was the pick of the bowlers for the home side, finishing with figures of 4/26 in his eight overs.
In efforts to chase down 283 for the win and to instil some confidence within the camp, South Africa made a solid start at the crease. The first two wickets went for a combined 122 runs thanks to two half-century stands between Levert Manje (30), Ruan Terblanche (45) and Bird.
The good start was then undone after another a middle-order collapse. The SA under-19s lost their next six wickets for 54 runs and were left reeling on 176/8. While the wickets were falling at the other end, the imposing figure of Bird batted on, bringing up his third international hundred in under-19 cricket, playing a phenomenal innings as he tried, in vain, to rescue his team's predicament.
Bird was the ninth wicket to fall, caught brilliantly on the boundary, which marked the end of South Africa's chances as Pakistan wrapped the innings up with 24 balls to spare. Shiraz Khan (2/32), Abbas Afridi (2/30), Aamir Ali (2/47) and Mohammad Aamir (2/51) were key wicket-takers for the visitors, taking two wickets apiece.
The seventh and final encounter will take place at the Chatsworth Oval on Sunday, 07 July from 09h00 (SA time).