India win despite Colin Ackermann's heroics
India Under-19s 268 for 8 (Rahul 72, Mandeep 54, Smith 4-50) beat South Africa Under-19s 250 for 8 (Ackermann 129*, Patel 2-25, Manan 2-32) by 18 runs
It was the perfect boost for the Under-19 world champions India as they look to defend their crown in New Zealand next month. An all-round display from India ensured they got off to a winning start in the Tri-Nation Under-19s Tournament in South Africa. The hosts, in particular Colin Ackermann, who scored a classy century, would be slightly disappointed as they let slip the momentum after a close finish against Sri Lanka at the same venue yesterday.
Put in, India were off to a solid start, with openers Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (45) putting on 81. Rahul was in good touch, bringing up his fifty off 53 balls, and teaming up with Mandeep Singh next up to add another 81. Both batsmen fell to right-arm fast bowler Stephan Smith, with Rahul hitting nine fours during his 92-ball stay and Mandeep managing five fours and a six in a well-compiled half-century. No major contributions followed lower down the order, as Smith missed out on a deserved five-for.
Captain Josh Richards' departure in the fourth over of the reply did not bode well, but it was No. 4 Ackermann who rose to the occasion. The 18-year-old Eastern Province right-hander was in fine fettle as he held fort even as wickets kept falling around him. It was a disciplined effort from the Indian bowlers as well, with seamer Harshal Patel and spinners Gaurav Jathar and Manan Sharma, all picking up two wickets apiece. It was not the perfect reward for Ackermann who remained unbeaten after hitting 12 fours and a six during his 113-ball stay.