South Africa finished fifth at the ICC Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand after beating Bangladesh in their final game.
Beat Kenya by 169 runs
Beat West Indies by 76 runs
Lost to New Zealand by 71 runs
Lost to Pakistan by 3 wickets
Fifth place play-off semi-final
Beat New Zealand by 73 runs
Fifth place play-off
Beat Bangladesh by 8 wickets
Positives to take home?
South Africa finished a creditable fifth place in New Zealand after completing an impressive win over Bangladesh in their final game. The final result is in between their finishes at the previous two tournaments. A team featuring current Test players Aiden Markram, Andile Phehlukwayo and Kagiso Rabada won in 2014, only for their successors to post a joint-worst performance, failing to make the quarter-finals, finishing 11th in 2016.
As such fifth is a reasonable effort, especially considering the strength of the four teams ahead of them. In many ways the highlight of the tournament came in the win over Bangaldesh, with fast bowlers Fraser Jones (5/33) and Akhona Mnyaka (3/27) mightily impressive in dismantling the Tigers' line-up.
If that was the bowlers' best display, it was the batsmen who came to the fore to get revenge on New Zealand in the fifth place play-off semi-final. Matthew Breetzke (115) and Raynard van Tonder (117) put on 213 runs together as they posted 284/6 from their 50 overs. Their efforts were then backed up by opening bowler Gerald Coetzee, who took figures of 5/32.
Areas to improve?
South Africa's two defeats – to New Zealand and Pakistan – came in contrasting ways, making it hard to pinpoint a specific area of weakness. Against the Blackcaps it was the left-arm spin of Rachin Ravindra who did the damage with figures of 4/32, with Hermann Rolfes (108) and Jean du Plessis (54) not receiving support from others in pursuit of 279/8. Meanwhile, Pakistan's fast bowling attack limited them to 189/9 in 50 overs before they squeaked home to a narrow win.
In total, South Africa scored four centuries throughout the tournament and their bowling attack claimed 52 off a possible 60 wickets. On the face of it they therefore weren't far off. It was just the small margins against New Zealand and Pakistan that cost them.
Raynard van Tonder led the way with the bat for South Africa, scoring 348 runs in six innings at an average of 69.60 and a strike-rate of 94.30. Although he had three low-scoring knocks, the 19-year-old also posted two centuries along the way, with 143 against Kenya, 117 in the win over New Zealand and an unbeaten 82 versus Bangladesh.
Of batsmen to have played six innings, he was the second-highest run-scorer, behind only West Indies' Alick Athanaze.
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