Afghanistan v South Africa,quarter-final, U-19 World Cup, Sharjah February 23, 2014

Dill, Markram take SA into semis

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa Under-19s 198 for 1 (Markram 105*, Christoffels 56*) beat Afghanistan Under-19s 197 (Nasir Jamal 61, Dill 4-40)

A four-wicket haul from the medium-pacer Justin Dill, and an an unbeaten century from the captain Aiden Markram powered South Africa Under-19s into the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup after they thumped Afghanistan Under-19s by nine wickets in Sharjah.

Afghanistan, batting first, began slowly as Kagiso Rabada removed the opener Mohammad Mujtaba for a duck in the third over, but Usman Ghani and Ihsanullah counterattacked with a quick 46-run stand. Ghani blasted five fours and two sixes in his 30-ball 36, while Ihsanullah was more patient at the other end, taking 60 deliveries for his 30.

However, wickets at regular intervals from Dill and Yaseen Valli stalled Afghanistan's slow progress. The Afghanistan captain Nasir Jamal top-scored with 61, but none of the batsmen lasted long enough at the other end to build any substantial partnerships. Dill eventually finished with four scalps to take his tally in the tournament to 10, the joint second-highest, while Rabada and Valli shared four dismissals between them to restrict Afghanistan to 197.

South Africa lost Clyde Fortuin for a run-a-ball 32 during the chase, but suffered no other casualty as Markram and Kirwin Christoffels combined for an unbroken second-wicket stand which yielded 158 runs. Markram finished on 105 not out, his second consecutive ton, while Christoffels remained unbeaten on 56 to collect his second half-century of the tournament.

Markram said his second hundred was a sign that he was peaking at the right time for the team. The captain also expressed his satisfaction with the 'clinical' execution of plans against Afghanistan.

"We played clinical cricket today," Markram said. "It was really good to see the guys executing the game plans that we discussed and making every opportunity count. The bowlers really set us up nicely and made it easier for the batsmen to come in and do what needed to be done.

"On a personal note, I'm very happy to have scored another 100. There were times at the start of the tournament when I was a little frustrated with myself, but I'm glad that I'm peaking at the right time for the team."

South Africa will now play Australia Under-19s in the second semi-final in Dubai on Wednesday, a match with interesting context given their clash in the last Under-19 World Cup. In 2012, the teams clashed in the semi-final and Australia marched into the final with a four-wicket win. According to Markram, avenging that loss would be an important goal for the team.

"There's a bit of history there," he said. "We'll definitely be looking to avenge the last World Cup squad, but more than anything we want to win this for South Africa. Our country deserves an ICC trophy."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harjinder on February 24, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    Good work by SA young guys . I wish they hold the nerve this time win WC (u-19 ) title ...Good luck ,carry on Jennings ."""

  • M.G. on February 24, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    @Salarzai Zalmai: yes, one notch better than the defeat to BD u19

  • Duncan on February 23, 2014, 19:58 GMT

    Seems Markram was intent on keeping Valli from getting a chance to bat, they are number 2 and 7 respectively in the most runs table, but Valli at least retains his position at the top of the averages table! These guys look like great future SA prospects.

  • Android on February 23, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    Afghan played well but they got lucky beating Australia and got beaten badly by south Africa, just like Bangladesh had done the same to them. sadly India out so Pakistan will lift the cup. Australia looks confused team, couldn't play well against Afghanistan, went on to beat west Indies. good luck to all

  • Justin on February 23, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    The end of a brave fight by Afghanistan. Winning the toss and batting first was an interesting choice given how comfortably South Africa have chased down totals throughout the tournament thus far. It might have been better asking them to bat first and set a total. I noticed that all four games today were won by the team batting second.

  • Android on February 23, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    Reality check for the Afghans.

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    still great work by afghans.

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