Rabada steamrolls WI to give SA huge win
South Africa Under-19s 198 for 9 (Valli 53, Oldfield 38) beat West Indies Under-19s 104 (Lewis 37, Rabada 3-14) by 94 runs
The opening day of the Under-19 World Cup saw an exhibition of pace in Dubai as South Africa's bowlers, led by Kagiso Rabada, proved that a below-par 198 was indeed defendable. South Africa's batsmen, too, were subject to a pace barrage from Ray Jordan and Jerome Jones, but Rabada's blows were more incisive as they left West Indies reeling at 1 for 3, thus making the target seem insurmountable.
While South Africa's senior team were being made to duck and weave against Mitchell Johnson in Centurion at the same time, fans keeping an eye on the juniors would have had something to smile about. Rabada, the 18-year-old right-arm fast bowler, clocked around 136 kph on an average, also getting disconcerting bounce on a fresh surface. The West Indies top order had little time to adjust and the game was all but over after Rabada's first spell. It also compensated for South Africa's horror show with their running between the wickets earlier in the day. Three run-outs, in the space of four overs, had reduced them to a sorry 110 for 7 and had it not been for Yaseen Valli's 53, South Africa may have been defending a sub-150 total.
The run-out epidemic had spread to West Indies from the first ball, when Tagenarine Chanderpaul dived and failed to make his ground after he and Shimron Hetmyer set off for a risky single. Hetmyer himself didn't last the over, edging Rabada to second slip. In his next over, Rabada got Jonathan Drakes edging to the keeper and, at that stage, West Indies had lost three for virtually nothing.
Rabada constantly tested the jolted middle order with his thunderbolts, one of which struck Nicolas Pooran's helmet. Jeremy Solozano, who struggled for 20 balls for one run, was done in for pace when he inside-edged Rabada on to his leg stump. Rabada's first spell read 6-3-9-3 and West Indies were a sorry 27 for 5 after 12 overs. The pressure to push on got to Pooran who slashed Justin Dill to second slip. Dill then bowled a fuller ball to Fabien Allen who edged to the keeper. There was no fightback from the lower order like Valli's and a big win for South Africa was inevitable.
There was enough evidence from the warm-up games to suggest that the team bowling first would enjoy the first hour. West Indies opted to bowl first, factoring in the early morning chill and moisture on the wicket and their seamers regularly dropped it short. Jordan generated more pace than Jones, with his slingy action. Though West Indies had the upper hand, they didn't give a good account of themselves in the field, dropping catches and fumbling in the outfield. Two chances were put down early, at backward point by Allen and at slip by Ramaal Lewis.
Despite the let-offs, South Africa couldn't capitalise and had lost half their side for 98. Clyde Fortuin, fresh off a century against India, was caught top-edging a short ball from Jordan. Jason Smith and Greg Oldfield put on a patient 65 for the third wicket but both fell trying to get aggressive.
The run-outs were a result of a communication breakdown with the batsmen trying to pinch quick singles to the fielders patrolling the infield. At 117 for 8, Valli had the No.10 Justin Dill for company and the pair took their side to 179, with Valli playing positively. He wasn't afraid to dab the seamers down to third man, play the lap shot and use the extra bounce to carve the ball over the slips. Dill rotated the strike well and Valli stayed long enough to ensure that South Africa batted out the 50 overs. That South Africa got close to 200 was a big improvement. The seamers complimented those efforts and bundled out West Indies for 104.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo