Bancroft, Steketee take Australia to final
Australia Under-19 193 for 6 (Bancroft 66, Williams 3-40) beat South Africa Under-19 191 for 8 (Coetzee 50, Steketee 3-35) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball by ball details
Defending champions Australia moved within one more victory of retaining the Under-19 World Cup by beating South Africa in the first semi-final at Tony Ireland Stadium. Their bowlers made best use of winning the toss, keeping South Africa on a leash by striking regularly on an overcast morning, and their batsmen overcame a difficult start to complete the chase in the 49th over.
The decisive period in the game was the batting Powerplay in South Africa's innings, taken in the 36th over soon after the drinks break. They had reached 124 for 3, after Chad Bowes and Murray Coetzee had repaired the damage caused by three early wickets. With the field up, Bowes went down on one knee and tried to paddle Mark Steketee past short fine leg. He was smashed on the grille of his helmet and needed it changed. The next ball, he edged to the wicketkeeper. In the last over of the Powerplay, Shaylin Pillay spooned a catch to mid-off, also off Steketee, and two balls later Coetzee dropped his bat while trying to ground it and was run out. South Africa had lost 3 for 10 in five overs and were able to make only 191.
Australia also took their batting Powerplay in the 36th over and they too were 124 for 3, having repaired the damage of two early wickets. Cameron Bancroft and William Bosisto scored only 27 runs off those five overs but Australia lost no wickets and they didn't need too many more runs. There was a stumble in the 44th over, when Bancroft was run out and Travis Head bowled off the inside edge, but the immoveable object Bosisto and Ashton Turner took Australia very close, like they had in the quarterfinal against Bangladesh. Bosisto was run out for 40, minutes before the winning runs were hit, the first time he's been dismissed in five innings during this World Cup.
The South Africans had several chances in the field but didn't take them. Kurtis Patterson, who took the attack to South Africa and hit in the air a lot, was on 28 when he cut the ball high in the air towards deep cover point. Prenelan Subrayen covered good ground and dived but only got fingertips to it. Patterson was on 37 when he cut again, but a flatter, relatively easier chance was put down by Pillay at point. Both were tough chances, though, and Patterson eventually fell for 49. The chance Bancroft gave on 23 was much easier, an edge to slips that Theunis de Bruyn put down. Calvin Savage was the angry bowler all three times and he wore his disappointment on his sleeve.
Amid those chances, Patterson and Bancroft batted in contrasting styles. Patterson was counterattacking, successfully wresting the advantage from South Africa after Jimmy Peirson and Meyrick Buchanan made ducks, by lofting the ball over the infield. Bancroft was steady and happy to turn over the strike. Their 95-run partnership pushed South Africa to the brink of elimination, and Bosisto nudged them over it.
South Africa, however, were unlucky to lose the toss for the second time in two knockout matches and had to bat when the conditions were toughest. And for the second time, Quinton de Kock didn't last long, hooking a short ball from Steketee straight to Joel Paris at fine leg. Gihahn Cloete went edging a full ball from Paris that seamed away to second slip, where Turner caught it on the second attempt. South Africa were 4 for 2 after 2.2 overs and never really recovered.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo