Cape Town - A half-century by Jonathan Bird and an impressive, four-wicket haul by Thando Ntini spearheaded the South Africa Under-19s’ convincing, 79-run victory over England in the Youth One-Day series opener in Durham on Monday.
The visitors go one-nil up in the three-match clash.
Bird smashed a 47-ball 51, while Ntini returned remarkable figures of 4/19 in his eight-over spell to get their side off to a confidence-boosting start.
South Africa posted a competitive 229/9 at the end of their allotted overs after they were put in to bat first. Bird grabbed his opportunity with both hands and played the aggressor in his 54-run, second-wicket stand with Thamsanqa Khumalo after they lost Joshua Richards (5) to Jack Plom (1/43) in the fourth over.
The runs flowed the visiting side’s way even after the losses of Bird and Khumalo (16) thanks to 30s from captain Wandile Makwetu (39) and Sinethemba Qeshile (32). Curtis Campher gave the innings impetus with an unbeaten 43 off 55 deliveries (3x4s, 1x6) after a double strike in the 30th over saw Jordan Cook (4/30) remove Jason Niemand and Jade de Klerk for eight and none respectively.
Campher led the charge with a wagging South African tail, together adding 63 runs to the scoreboard after they were left on 166/7 in the 37th over. Ntini and spinner Kgaudise Molefe, chipped in with 12 and eight runs each.
The pair partnered up to give England a nightmare start, reducing the hosts to 3/6 in the first three overs of their reply. Ntini got the first breakthrough, followed by Molefe’s (2/29) third-over double strike as Ben Charlsworth, Harrison Ward and Jack Haynes were dispatched for one run each.
Captain Tom Banton (9) fell to Campher (1/37) at the start of the 11th over, leaving number five batsman Oliver Robinson to plot the way forward. The middle order batsman played a gritty knock, returning the most runs for the home side, but his 54 (74 balls) was plagued by falling wickets, including that of Jack Davies (6) before he became Ntini’s second victim.
After that Ntini and Jade de Klerk (2/18) made quick work of the remaining batsmen, bundling out the hosts for 150 with a little over 10 overs to spare. Luke Hollman was not out for 30 off 37 deliveries.
The second match will take place on Thursday, July 26 in Newcastle.