Sri Lanka outclassed South Africa in the first Super League playoff semi-final at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, thanks in large part to the brilliance of their captain Dunith Wellalage.
Elsewhere Uganda secured victory in the 13th-place playoff as Scotland suffered their fifth loss in five at the tournament despite the efforts of Jamie Cairns. Here are the big talking points from the day’s action.
SRI LANKA BEAT SOUTH AFRICA BY 65 RUNS
Wellalage is a world-class talent
Sri Lanka’s captain Dunith Wellalage is a phenomenon. The 19-year-old has been one of the stars of the tournament without question, and continued his impressive run of form against high-calibre opponents in South Africa.
The all-rounder finished Day 15 of the tournament as comfortably the World Cup’s leading wicket-taker so far, with his 17 wickets coming at an average of 9.35 and with an economy rate of just 3.53.
So as a spin bowler alone Wellalage has been one of the standout performers in the Caribbean. But he also showed his class with the bat again at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, building a brilliant hundred to lift his side to a competitive total.
Wellalage had come in with his team in a spot of bother on 25/3 towards the back-end of the powerplay. But the 113 off 130 balls that followed saw Sri Lanka surge into a dominant position in the match, with Wellalage only falling in the penultimate over as he took risks for a big finish.
Wellalage is currently in the top five run-scorers in the tournament, and he has scored those runs against good opponents in match-defining situations. His other significant score was a top-scoring 52 against Australia in the group stage, an innings that took Sri Lanka from almost certain defeat to the brink of a famous victory.
Brevis has a rare off-day
South Africa’s tournament has been built on the back of Dewald Brevis’ run-scoring heroics. The right-hander had gone big in all four of his innings prior to this one, with 65 against India, 104 against Uganda, 96 v Ireland and 97 in the quarter-final against England.
But even a player has clearly talented as Brevis can’t be expected to deliver every single time, and this was his first ‘failure’ of the tournament, missing a clip off his pads to fall LBW to Wanuja Sahan for just six runs.
Without Brevis to inspire the reply South Africa crumbled, but the Proteas and their star batter will have one final chance to impress in the Caribbean when they face either Bangladesh or Pakistan in the seventh-place playoff.
What might have been for two top teams
South Africa have been one of the most eye-catching and engaging teams at the tournament, with ‘Baby ABD’ lighting it up with the bat.
And yet the young Proteas can now only finish as high as seventh, and they will return home with some regrets about how they underperformed, particularly with the ball, during the knockout stage.
For Sri Lanka, this could have been a very different tournament. Had they held their nerve in the run-chase against Afghanistan they would have been preparing for a semi-final against England this weekend rather than dropping into the positional playoffs.
Were it not for that extraordinary four-run defeat Sri Lanka would have a strong claim to be one of the best teams at the tournament, and they can underline the huge potential of this new generation when they face the winner of Bangladesh v Pakistan in the playoff for fifth-place.
UGANDA BEAT SCOTLAND BY 51 RUNS (D/L)
Uganda consign Scotland to winless World Cup
Uganda produced an excellent performance to win the 13th-place playoff in Diego Martin. Scotland had been handed a bye into the fixture against Uganda courtesy of Canada’s COVID-related early departure from the tournament. And that meant that the Scots went into their fifth and final match of the World Cup still looking for a win.
But it wasn’t to be for Scotland, who played some tidy cricket at times during the tournament, but struggled for big impact, particularly with the bat.
Jamie Cairns at least gave the squad something to be proud of on the final day, taking 6/24 off 6.4 overs. But the bowling attack as a whole struggled to restrict Uganda’s top order, with Ronald Lutaaya’s 64 and Pascal Murungi’s 49 helping the African side to a total of 226 all out after just 35.4 overs.
In reply five Scottish batters made starts, but nobody kicked on, with a rain delay proving a big turning point as the final seven wickets fell for 64 runs and the chance to register a win went begging.
The excellent Juma Miyaji (4/25) and Christopher Kidega (3/23) did the damage with the ball as Uganda finished their World Cup with impressive back-to-back wins.
Cairns provides Scotland with some cheer
Although the experience of an international tournament will stand this generation of Scottish players in good stead, it has been a largely disappointing World Cup for the travelling Scotland squad.
But one thing that the coaches and decision-makers can take from the tournament is the depth in quality of the bowling attack. Oliver Davidson and Jack Jarvis both looked good throughout the tournament with their respective left-arm spin and right-arm fast bowling.
And Jamie Cairns finished the tournament on a high with his left-arm spin, returning extraordinary figures of six wickets for 24 runs in just 6.4 overs.
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