SA U19s finish series with confidence boosting win
The SA U19s picked up a consolation, confidence boosting win over the India U19 team in their final match of the ODI series at Buffalo Park on Monday afternoon.
After being easily beaten by nine and eight wickets respectively in the opening two matches to lose the series, the SA U19 side showed a lot of courage and fight to bounce back with a solid five-wicket win in the last game. The win will give the side, which has been on a dreadful run of results, a timely boost ahead of their final build up to the 2020 ICC U19 World Cup, a quadrangular series against India, New Zealand and Zimbabwe U19s early in January.
“I thought the boys played well, we applied ourselves well in all disciplines today and I'm very proud of the way the boys performed,” said SA U19 coach Lawrence Mahatlane.
“I think the biggest thing for me was belief, India are world champions for a reason, and to be able to beat them, for the players and their own belief they understand now that they can do it if they apply themselves.”
In the match against India it was a top bowling effort at the start, restricting the visitors to below par 192/8 in their 50 overs that got the SA U19s off on the right foot, and then a superb unbeaten 88 from man-of-the-match Jonothan Bird then led his side confidently over the line for a good win.
“I think if you look at the history Jono (Bird) has score three hundreds for us so far in his short career in U19 cricket, and he showed again his ability batting through the innings, he came in at three and to finish up not out and see the team home is very special,” added Mahatlane.
The India U19 innings didn't get off to the best start as they were reduced to 42/3 in the 10th over, but captain Priyam Garg and Tilak Varma rebuilt the innings with a solid 58-run stand.But Garg, shortly after reaching his half century fell for 52, and Varma followed soon after for 25, which saw them slip to 118/5.
Despite most of their middle and lower order getting starts, India was not able to get past the 200-run mark in the closing stages leaving SA a low total to chase. Pheko Moletsane was SA U19s best bowler with 2/36 and was backed up well by Achille Cloete, 2/46, Odirile Modimokoane. 1/28, and Tiaan van Vuuren, 1/21.
The SA U19 chase then got off to a solid start despite the early wicket of captain Bryce Parsons (15). However a quickfire double saw Andrew Louw (31) and Levert Manje for a third ball duck fall, leaving them on 85/3 in the 26th over.Bird however found a willing partner in Luke Beaufort (14) and they added 48 for the fourth wicket and then 57 with Jack Lees (29), who initially started very slowly but picked it up towards the end, to get them to 190/5, allowing Bird to ease them home in the end.