Marshall ushers Windies into semis
West Indies 284 for 6 (Marshall 106) beat South Africa 250 (Rampaul 3-41) by 34 runs
Xavier Marshall scored a fine 106 from 133 balls to book West Indies' place in the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup. His effort, plus crucial contributions from Tishan Maraj, Lendl Simmons and Jonathan Augustus, guided the Windies to 284 for 6 in their 50 overs, a total that proved to be too much for South Africa, who slumped to a 34-run defeat.
Both sides began the day with one win and one defeat under their belts, so the game was effectively a straight knockout. South Africa won the toss, but were soon made to rue their decision to bowl first, as Marshall and Maraj raced to a 93-run opening partnership in the 17th over. But their eagerness eventually got the better of them, and Maraj sacrificed his wicket after they both found themselves at the same end of the pitch.
Marshall knuckled down after his reprieve and with Simmons providing good support, the pair took the score along to 161 in 30 overs. Simmons then became the second run-out victim, and Marshall the third, but a late scoring spree lifted the West Indies to an imposing total.
No side had successfully chased down such a large target, but South Africa's top order made a positive start. They reached 100 in 19.4 overs for the loss of only two wickets, but from that point onwards wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Their lower-order fought gamely to the end, but they were still well adrift when Ravi Rampaul bowled Mpumelelo Silwana for 42 with the final ball of the match.
Rampaul, who made his senior international debut in South Africa last month, had missed most of West Indies' pool matches because of illness. But he finished with 3 for 41 - all three clean-bowled - and had found his rhythm for the first time in the tournament.
West Indies' manager Roland Sampath was pleased with his side's positive attitude. "We treated today like a quarter-final and we're all delighted to get through," he said. Their captain Denesh Ramdin, however, believed there was room for improvement. "We still need to work on our batting, our bowling and our fielding," he admitted. "It was a good contest today. There was something in the wicket for the bowlers if they did well, but there also runs there for batsmen if they didn't."
South Africa's captain Divan van Wyk was philosophical in defeat. "We are obviously disappointed with today's result but we have learned a lot," he said. "This has been the best-run tournament I have ever been involved in."
West Indies will face the winner of tomorrow's match between England and Pakistan in the second Super League semi-final on Tuesday, March 2.