Australia v SA, U-19 World Cup, semi-final February 26, 2014

Markram hails 'spectacular' Rabada

On Wednesday, there were no frenzied celebrations that had highlighted the first semi-final at the Dubai International Stadium. Because South Africa had it all too easy in the end.

Australia's response to 230 may have been tepid, losing by 80 runs in a one-sided second semi-final, but there was nothing tepid about the way South Africa went about their job. Kagiso Rabada, one of the fastest bowlers in the competition, was at the top of his game, using his pace and bounce to befuddle Australia before they could size up the conditions in their chase. He ended with 6 for 25, the best figures in the competition to date and his captain Aiden Markram termed his spell as 'spectacular'.

"It was spectacular," Markram said. "When you have someone like him in your armoury, especially when he is as pumped up and as motivated as today. Today's performance was awesome and the cherry on top for all the work that he has done prior to the tournament. It is good that it paid off, and I am over the moon for him."

Rabada used the short ball to fetch three of his wickets, including his first, in his third over. Matthew Short tried to hook but ended up edging to the keeper. The next two claimed lower-order wickets but his length wasn't one-dimensional. He cranked up the pace when he bowled fuller lengths and one of them snuck through Damien Mortimer's defenses and the other found the stumps off an inside edge off Jaron Morgan. Both batsmen were beaten for pace, with speeds averaging close to 90mph. At the U-19 level, it's a scary prospect for any batsman.

Rabada, who sat next to Markram at the post-match presentation, cut a relaxed figure, giving the impression that he had just bowled out a club side. He said that while it was good to toast this victory, the job was not yet done, with the final around the corner.

"We can acknowledge the good performances, but it is important to have your feet on your ground. I am a relaxed guy," Rabada said. "It has not anything to do with cricket, it is just me. I and my team think that it is not over till it's over."

Rabada introduced himself to the world with a similar opening spell against West Indies at the start of the tournament. He was rested against Canada and brought back for the knockouts. The Dubai pitch has suited him the best and Pakistan will be wary of him in the final.

While Rabada took the final honours, the contributions by Markram himself and Clyde Fortuin were no less significant. For a change, the team batting first in Dubai didn't wobble. Markram and Fortuin showed that with the right application and patience, it was possible to add a century opening stand on the same pitch. Wayward bowling by Australia, giving away eight wides and a no ball in the first 15 overs, helped.

"It (the collapses) was not a comforting stat, but we came here knowing that, and backed ourselves to execute our plans well," Markram said. "It (extras) helped. With it we could be a bit more circumspective with how we played. On this deck, the new ball does go around early on. So, the plan was to have good compact position early on and kick it on at the end."

Markram said that despite their start, it wasn't the easiest wicket to bat on. "At times, the wicket was a bit two-paced. Sometimes, you could hit through the line and over the top, and the next one you would have thought you are there but you are not," he said. "We would have taken 230, but with the start and we played in the middle overs, we would have wanted a bit more."

The Australian spinners did well to pull things back after South Africa were going at five an over in the first 30 overs. South Africa salvaged only 12 runs from their batting Powerplay. South Africa too started with spin, with the offspinner Dirk Bruwer bowling 10 economical overs for just 32 runs. Markram said the ploy of opening with spin wasn't hatched during the innings break.

"It was the plan before the game. But the fact that the Australian spinners did well with the ball only added to why he should open with spin. Although it didn't strike a wicket, it helped us get through the overs quickly and just push that (required) rate up to five early on."

The Australia captain Alex Gregory admitted that his wicket was untimely, when Australia were building a stand after losing three wickets. He said it was a collective failure and gave South Africa their due.

"Each batsman should take it upon himself to keep pushing the scoring," Gregory said. "I just didn't execute as well as possible. The South Africans were very attacking and disciplined so it was a bit hard to score out there."

Australia will face England in the third place playoff on Friday.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mahjut on February 27, 2014, 16:09 GMT

    @ Greatest Game although I get what you're saying re. the win by Eng making the front page with nothing about this win ... but in truth it was not hard to find this article as there is a section called 'series' and then u/19 WC - everything you want to know about the tourney is there.

    I have many things to complain about with cricinfo (and don't support any of the big three with any massive enthusiasm ... it's Zim, SA then WI and BD for me ...the rest I merely keep an eye on) and cannot argue that it has leanings but it's still easily the best cricket site out there.

  • Revash on February 27, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Rabada is a great prospect for the future. I hope that SA manage him well and nuture him. Perhaps at some stage, when the time is right, he can play with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.

  • Android on February 27, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    @greatest game: its cricinfo bro.... owned by one of the so called big three... they feel so shame all them three kicked out of the tournament. ... they will face same in the ODI WC 2015 as well.... they can't just hide the truth for longer period.... I bet they cant...

  • shahid on February 27, 2014, 1:33 GMT

    Its just annoying that only England and other Bigs are given prominent Space on the front page. This site should become an international cricket site which treats all test playing nations equaly. Well done South Africa. Its so saticfying to see all big3 been beaten before the final.

  • Dummy on February 27, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    Unfortunately final between pak vs sa But just remember how many final they play each other big three is big three No value of south Africa or Pakistan won under 19 workd cup Main issue is earning money thats got by big three who ever plays final no difference

  • Dummy4 on February 26, 2014, 22:32 GMT

    BIG THREE will be fighting for #2, #3 & #5, haha!

  • David on February 26, 2014, 20:17 GMT

    On the front page of cricinfo is no mention of this game.When Eng U19 won it was a headline: SAU19 won on the same day, & were not mentioned.

    SA U19 thrash Aus to waltz into the final of the U19 World cup, & to read this well written report I had to search the news section. There is no link to it from cricinfo's front page, Global version. Why? Is the U19 World Cup not worth mentioning, but one Dhaka Gladiators owner found guilty of corruption is news?

    Other headlines on cricinfo: Tredwell seeks to fill spinners' void. Trott on track for April comeback. Latif named Pakistan chief selector. Three West Indians set to be knighted. Watson accepts all-round role. Dawes might not make WC 2015.

    BUT…….. SA U19 trounce Australia to meet Pakistan in the Final - not mentioned anywhere. Kohli's century vs Bangladesh is the TOP HEADLINE: an unexpected win?

    cricinfo. This comment IS the truth. Do you have the honesty to publish it. It won't be read. No-one can find the article to read it anyway.

  • Dummy4 on February 26, 2014, 19:51 GMT

    Perhaps the BIG THREE will have to start each match with some runs on the board so that they can compete with us minnows? I thing Whinger Warner is to busy wining about AB's gloves or whatever tickles his fancy, Lehmann will probably complain that u19s are not being allowed to bowl at 140km/h etc. when he notices Radaba. Our fast bowling factory works very well!

  • des on February 26, 2014, 19:03 GMT

    Great win boys.. and superb from Rabada. What a prospect.

    Surprising to see the Aussies haven't made any excuses yet, perhaps we need to wait for the intelligent verdict form David Warner.

    Looking forward to the final vs Pakistan.

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