South Africa overpowered Ireland as the Proteas batters went big in their final group game, while Sri Lanka edged a thriller to deny tournament hosts West Indies a spot in the Super League knockout stage. Here are the big talking points from the eighth day of the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup.
SOUTH AFRICA BEAT IRELAND BY 153 RUNS (D/L METHOD)
Brilliant Brevis is the star of the tournament so far
The pressure was on for this head-to-head decider as to who would join India in the Super League knockout stage. And Ireland must have felt they were in with a sniff after removing both Proteas openers cheaply.
But this is Dewald Brevis’ tournament so far, and the batter nicknamed ‘Baby AB’ lit it up again with an outstanding 96 to help set a big platform for his side.
Brevis has been remarkable with the bat in hand throughout the group stage, hitting 65 first up against India and then building a superb century in his second innings with 104 against Uganda. And he should have had another ton in this one, falling just four runs short when he was caught at gully for an outstanding 96 from 122 balls.
All opponents in the knockout stages will know that Brevis is the key wicket. While he’s at the crease South Africa will always stand a chance.
South Africa’s power-hitting raises the standard
A rain shower reduced the match to 47 overs apiece, but South Africa still managed to amass over 300 thanks to a phenomenal late flurry of runs.
Brevis and captain George Van Heerden had set up the platform, and the fall of the former in the 36th over did nothing to slow the rate. Andile Simelane smashed 25 off 12, before Michael Copeland arrived at the crease to slam 43 runs from just 18 deliveries as the run-rate rocketed.
Meanwhile at the other end the skipper also went big, finishing fast to go to a century before falling off the final ball of the innings for a brilliant 111.
South Africa scored 19 sixes in total in their innings and piled on a remarkable 132 runs in the final 10 overs.
First ball sets the tone
Ireland were always going to be up against it chasing down such a big total against a high-class side like South Africa. And their chances of doing so took a blow right at the start of the reply when Liam Doherty edged a Matthew Boast away-swinger through to the keeper for a golden duck.
Boast’s second over started in similar fashion, with the bowler trapping Joshua Cox plumb in-front for 0, meaning that the right-arm quick had picked up two wickets before even conceding a run.
Nathan McGuire (42), Philippus le Roux (33) and Matthew Humphreys (38) provided some brave resistance for Ireland, but Boast’s early salvo set the tone for the innings and Ireland were all out for 158, with 15 overs remaining and 153 still required.
SRI LANKA BEAT WEST INDIES BY THREE WICKETS
A nerve-jangler in Basseterre
Sri Lanka were already through to the Super League stage even before this game, but the West Indies knew that a victory over the Group D leaders would see them join their Asian opponents in the top tier knockout competition at the expense of Australia.
Having so much riding on the game made for a nerve-jangler of a chase after the tournament hosts had recovered from the loss of both openers cheaply to amass 250/9 in their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka are a decent side but the result and the fate of both West Indies and the nervously-watching Australians hung in the balance for much of the reply as wickets fell at crucial intervals.
With top-scorer Sadisha Rajapaksa (76), Anjala Bandara (40) and key man Wellalage (15) falling within five overs of each other to leave Sri Lanka 201/6 with 49 runs still required, it looked as if West Indies were in with a chance.
But Ranuda Somarathne (28*) stayed calm to see his side across the line, making it three wins from three for Sri Lanka and doing Australia a big favour in the process.
Wonderful Wellalage weaves his magic again
Dunith Wellalage has been one of the players of the tournament so far, with his left-arm spin bamboozling opponents throughout the group stage.
The 19-year-old skipper didn’t make it a hat-trick of five-wicket hauls, but he was still the pick of the bowlers on show, returning figures of three for 39 off his ten overs, with all three wickets being batters in the West Indies’ top five. That takes him clear as the tournament’s top wicket-taker with 13 to his name, ahead of England’s Josh Boyden, who has picked up 10 in three matches.
Wellalage will have been disappointed not to have seen his side over the line with the bat, especially given the form he showed with a 52 against Australia last time out. But his run-a-ball 15 kept the momentum going at a crucial point of the chase, and Wellalage can’t do absolutely everything for his side after all.
West Indies show what might have been
The tournament hosts will slip into the Plate knockout competition and will be among the favourites to win that. But their best performance of the tournament so far will leave the West Indies wondering what might have been.
The marvellous middle-order all contributed runs in a terrific team effort with the bat in Basseterre. Teddy Bishop (45), Kevin Wickham (56) and Jordan Johnson (47) all looked good, and will be frustrated that they were unable to go on and build big individual scores.
Rivaldo Clarke and McKenny Clarke also impressed, with the former hitting 45 off 35 and McKenny walloping 21 from 12, with the pair falling to the last two balls of the innings.
There was quality on show from the West Indies bowling attack too, with McKenny Clarke outstanding with his 2/38 off ten overs and Isai Thorne also highly impressive with his 2/41 off ten.
BE A PART OF CRICKET'S NFT REVOLUTION
Crictos official marketplace is now open!
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!