England produced a stunning performance with bat and ball to demolish South Africa in the first Super League quarter-final, despite another terrific knock from Proteas star Dewald Brevis.
Meanwhile in the Plate League there were big wins for Zimbabwe and tournament hosts West Indies. Here are the big talking points from Day 11 of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup.
THE SUPER LEAGUE
ENGLAND BEAT SOUTH AFRICA BY SIX WICKETS
England have title in their sights
The improvement in English white-ball cricket over the past decade has been striking, and the signs are that the next generation have the ability to keep that momentum going.
England’s Group A campaign was a cakewalk, but this fixture against South Africa in North Sound represented a step up and a real test of the team’s title credentials. And on this evidence they’ll be tough to beat.
Joshua Boyden looked just as dangerous with the new ball against the top-level batters of South Africa as he had during the group stage, taking two early wickets and finishing with very tidy figures of 2/31.
Spinner Rehan Ahmed was outstanding too, coming back well after being hit for runs early on to take 4/48 off his ten overs.
And the nature in which England chased down the target of 210, reaching it in just 31.2 overs, will have caught the eye of their Super League rivals.
Bethell’s game-changing onslaught
The aggression shown by England opener Jacob Bethell removed any pressure they may have felt chasing 210, with the Warwickshire man producing one of the best individual knocks of the tournament so far.
His explosive 88 came off just 42 balls, and it featured 16 fours and two sixes. Bethell’s remarkable innings saw England rattle along at over ten runs an over before he fell with the score on 110, already over halfway to the target and with 39.2 overs still remaining.
The only tinge of disappointment for Bethell was that he didn’t convert his start into what would have been a richly-deserved century, with a miscued slog-sweep sending him back to the hutch 12 runs short of his hundred.
Brevis is the real deal
South Africa’s chances of winning the tournament may be over, but they have unearthed an absolute gem in Dewald Brevis.
The all-rounder’s returns with the bat have been quite extraordinary at this tournament and he should have had another century against England, falling for 97 as he looked to boost his side’s total while wickets tumbled around him.
Brevis is nicknamed ‘Baby ABD’, and it’s not hard to see why comparisons have been drawn with the South Africa legend. His array of shots and attacking potential is something special, but so is the 18-year-old’s control – throughout the tournament he has played at a pace that suits the team rather than himself.
His four innings to-date at the World Cup have yielded 65 against India, 104 against Uganda, 96 against Ireland and now 97 against England. And with two games still to go, it’ll be fascinating to see how many more runs he can pile on in the Caribbean.
On this evidence, it’s not a question of whether Brevis will play for the full South Africa side, but when.
THE PLATE LEAGUE
ZIMBABWE BEAT SCOTLAND BY 108 RUNS
Bennett and Welch make the difference
Matthew Welch and Brian Bennett put on 112 for the third Zimbabwe wicket in a stand that proved the defining one of the match.
The Scottish attack had Zimbabwe’s top order in a spot of bother when Emmanuel Bawa and Panashe Taruvinga both fell for 3. But Welch’s composed 78 off 117 balls helped his side to a decent total, with Bennett playing more expansively at the other end.
The 18-year-old Bennett hit five fours and a six in his 54 off 58 balls, and it was the pair’s contributions that proved decisive. Only four Zimbabwe batters made it to double figures as they were all out for 248 off the penultimate ball of the innings. But that total proved too much for Scotland.
What might have been for Scotland
The World Cup has been a frustrating one for the Scots so far, with promising individual performances not turning into match-winning contributions. And it was the same story in Port of Spain.
Charlie Peet (2/36), Jack Jarvis (3/46), Oliver Davidson (1/34) and Lyle Robertson (1/40) all returned decent ten-over figures, but the match was ultimately decided by the big third-wicket stand for Zimbabwe, and Scotland’s bowlers struggled to find the cutting edge to break the partnership.
With the bat it was a similar tale, with six batters making it to double figures, but not a single player progressing beyond 25.
Two further games await for Scotland in the Plate League, but whatever happens from here they’ll return to the UK after this tournament rueing some missed opportunities.
WEST INDIES BEAT PAPUA NEW GUINEA BY 169 RUNS
West Indies the team to beat in the Plate
The tournament hosts were the biggest team to miss out on a spot in the Super League after defeats to Australia and Sri Lanka in the group stage, but are a strong side and will be favourites to win the Plate League.
The West Indies face the impressive United Arab Emirates in the Plate semi-finals, with either Ireland or Zimbabwe awaiting the winner in the Plate final. And on the evidence of Wednesday’s match in Diego Martin it’s going to take quite a bit to stop this side lifting the Plate.
There’s plenty of variety in the West Indies bowling attack, and the batters went big against Papua New Guinea, making their total of 317/6 look easy. PNG aren’t a bad side at all, but this level of opposition is a real test and they didn’t quite have it on the day.
A captain’s knock from Nandu
Shaqkere Parris and Kevin Wickham both looked in great nick with 64 and 61 respectively against PNG. But it was the captain Matthew Nandu who produced the innings that his team built their sizeable total around.
Nandu very nearly carried his bat as he stroked a superb and steady hundred from the top of the order, falling for 128 off 134 in the penultimate over of the innings.
The skipper struggled to hit his stride in the group stage, but on this evidence he’s ready to make up for lost time in the Plate, and followed up his brilliant ton with six miserly overs, ending with bowling figures of 2/14.