South Africa v Zimbabwe, Under-19 World Cup, Abu Dhabi February 18, 2014

Markram, Dill charge South Africa to quarter-finals

South Africa Under-19s 199 for 3 (Markram 120*, Valli 53*) beat Zimbabwe Under-19s 198 (Jongwe 55, Dill 4-35) by seven wickets

It was all too easy for South Africa Under-19s as they brushed passed their neighbours Zimbabwe Under-19s by seven wickets in Abu Dhabi and entered the quarter-finals with three consecutive wins. Their seamers bundled out Zimbabwe for 198 and the target was overhauled by the captain Aiden Markram, who scored a century, and Yaseen Valli, who continued his golden run with an unbeaten fifty and in the process became the tournament's leading run-scorer.

South Africa had a minor hiccup with their top order, barring Markram, failing to click. Clyde Fortuin made his third consecutive score of 4 when he was trapped lbw on the backfoot to the seamer Cuthbert Musoko. Kirwin Christoffels survived an early shout for caught behind off the seamer but he was eventually dismissed by the left-arm spinner Herbert Chikomba bowled trying to sweep. Chikomba was on a hat-trick when he trapped Greg Oldfield lbw, leaving South Africa at a potentially slippery 54 for 3 in 11.2 overs.

Markram and Valli then built steadily and could afford to take their time. Markram flicked and nudged the seamers each time they strayed on the pads and he approached his fifty with a flicked boundary off the legspinner Deven Bell. Valli was content rotating the strike and the field was later brought in to cut off those singles. 

Valli then started to use his feet a bit more against the spinners, lofting over the infield. He was nearly run out on 49 when he tried to nudge a single past the wicketkeeper, who collected but failed to strike the stumps. Markram was strong on the cut, picking the gaps easily wide of cover. He reached his first century in U-19 one-dayers with a cover drive for four as South Africa neared the target.

That Zimbabwe managed to get close to 200 was thanks to Luke Jongwe's 55 off 53 balls. Zimbabwe were struggling to put runs on the board when he walked in at 111 for 5 in the 34th over. Zimbabwe gambled by opting to bat first on a grassy pitch, which the seamers, led by Justin Dill, exploited to pick up seven wickets.

The loss of two early wickets put pressure on the middle order, as they looked to boost a sagging run rate. Charles Kunje and Ryan Burl perished playing loose shots outside the off stump to the seamers. Kieran Geyle infused some life in the innings with five boundaries in his 39 before he was caught behind off Dill.

South Africa used as many as eight bowlers and could afford to experiment since this wasn't a pressure match. Valli, who took four wickets against Canada, did not bowl. Jongwe smashed four sixes in his half-century to prop up the total, but it wasn't sufficient to challenge South Africa.

"I'm very glad to get the runs for the team," Markram said after the match. "It is one of my best knocks I guess. I had a chat with Yaseen and then we batted all the way through. It was a good team effort today. We started of well with the ball and then fortunately I got those runs. It is crucial to keep the momentum going and we cannot take anything for granted. We have four days of rest and training to comeback fresh for the quarter-finals."

South Africa enter the quarter-finals as the top-seeded team in Group C, with West Indies too qualifying from their group.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Justin on February 19, 2014, 1:05 GMT

    It was good to see a better performance by Zimbabwe against SA in stark contrast to the huge letdown against the West Indies. They did well to get so close to bringing up the 200 thanks to the late-order hitting of Jongwe. It was no thanks to the innings at the top of the order by Kamunhukamwe in which he was dismissed for just 1 despite facing 31 deliveries, just pathetic! All he did, apart from not scoring, was put pressure on his opening partner and then when his partner left he followed without addition to the score. As for SA we'll see how good they are against stronger opposition than the West Indies, Zimbabwe and Canada. If results pan out the way I expect them to then SA will play Afghanistan in the quarter-finals. That will be a good contest. No country in the world plays its cricket as aggressively and in-your-face as the Australians do and yet Afghanistan beat them comfortably. The game against Afghanistan, should it materialise, might well prove to be SA's toughest yet.

  • Graham on February 18, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    Sad thing for Zimbabwe is that Ryan Higgins (Zimbabwe born) is now playing for England U19 and is arguably one of the best in the world at this level ...Zimbabwe were out of their depth here , however had they been played more competitive cricket leading up to the tournament, they would have been much nearer the mark . As Zimbabwe currently has no domestic cricket on offer how can they play internationally? Good effort Malcolm Lake and company, exceptional under the circumstances!!

  • David on February 18, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    @ ZCFOutkast's comments.

    "Malcolm Lake continues with his befudling captaincy." Expected.

    " Proteas batsmen from youth right up to the seniors and national batsmen are clueless around spin." Expected, although it is amazing how AB made it to the top of the test & ODI rankings , always falling to the 1st spinner to bowl at him. Interestingly, his dismissals & bowler records indicate differently. Smith's ave of 65.7 when dismissed by spin is also puzzling in this regard.

    Young Rabada&Sigwili were excellent upfront once again. No doubt a future opening bowling pair for "South Africa". (It is "The Republic of South Africa.") Expected.

    "Young Aiden Markram paced his innings in a manner most mature international ODI openers can only dream of. Top Knock!" Unexpected. Stunned. Disbelieving. Is this a misprint?

  • creebo on February 18, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    Clyde fortuin thought you were suppose to be the next abdv,yaseen valli been impressive,scores runs under pressure

  • ZCF on February 18, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    Malcolm Lake continues with his befudling captaincy. Proteas batsmen from youth right up to the seniors and national batsmen are clueless around spin. The inclusion of Musoko rendered him surplus to requirements as a bowler yet he once again stubbornly bowled himself - 6+ overs! The dangerous spin trio of Kamunhukamwe,Bell&Chikomba should have been the only ones to complete the attack. As for the XI selectors, this wasn't a good time to drop Mambo for Hondo.

    Nonetheles this young Proteas side is a powerful one so better decision-making would only have served to improve the look of the result to just a loss not an embarassment as was the case against WI too. Superb allround play from Jongwe. His hitting towards the end was excellent. One to watch for sure!

    Young Rabada&Sigwili were excellent upfront once again. No doubt a future opening bowling pair for "South Africa". Young Aiden Markram paced his innings in a manner most mature international ODI openers can only dream of. Top Knock!

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