India Under-19s maintained their place atop Group B with a six-wicket win over their South African counterparts at the Kinrara Oval, one put into motion by left-arm seamer Pradeep Sangwan's five-for and completed courtesy a patient second-wicket stand of 95. India are virtually set for the Super League quarter-finals while South Africa, who could only muster 149 in 30.1 overs, need to beat Papua New Guinea handsomely to keep their hopes alive.
Wayne Parnell, South Africa's captain, thought the track looked good to bat on despite a couple of cracks but his decision came into question as Sangwan's seam yielded five wickets inside the second Powerplay. Sangwan, a left-arm seamer from Delhi whose idol is Wasim Akram, took a leaf out of the Pakistan legend's book. An impressively straight wrist position allowed him to land the new ball on an upright seam and that proved too good for South Africa.
Swinging his second delivery back off a good length, Sangwan trapped Pieter Malan plumb in front for his second duck in a row and bowled JJ Smuts with a lovely cutter that nipped past his tame forward defensive. Reeza Hendricks hooked a rare loose ball over fine leg for six but fell soon after, poking at a fuller delivery and edging to the wicketkeeper to make it 22 for 3. That quickly became 29 for 4 thanks to Sangwan's seam and an injudicious shot. Rilee Roussow took the side to the finish line against West Indies yesterday but failed to register against India. Looking to force the pace, he drove hard at a wide delivery and was well held by Ravindra Jadeja at first slip, diving to his left.
Sangwan was quickly given a 7-2 off-side field but didn't need it. Adjusting his line closer to the off stump he bent the ball back and sneaked it through Yaseen Vallie's expansive drive. Off stump was indeed pegged back and South Africa were in a complete mess at 45 for 5. Sangwan continues to make strides in his first season of full-time cricket.
A bit of urgency from Johnathan Vandiar stemmed the rot momentarily. The delightfully-named Napoleon Einstein was welcomed into the tournament with a towering six and Vandiar continued to thrash at anything marginally off length. Taking the cue, Parnell followed with chips over the infield the 50-run stand consumed just 33 deliveries.
The aggression couldn't be sustained and Parnell fell for 31, sweeping and missing Jadeja's left-arm spin in the 20th over. Jadeja yorked Jacobus Pienaar but couldn't get a hat-trick, and Vandiar brought up his fifty from 38 balls, with seven fours and a six. He was smartly stumped for 53 and the last wicket fell shortly.
India's chase wasn't pretty. Opening the attack, Parnell was nippy and troubled Shreevats Goswami before he had him caught at mid-off attempting a hit out of the park. From 21 for 1 India ticked along without hassle and went into lunch on 51 without further loss. Tanmay Srivastava and opener Taruvar Kohli struggled to place the ball into the gaps initially but the runs trickled in through a mixture of drives, nudges and miscued slashes.
Clayton August, the third left-arm seamer, should have got Taruvar on 29 but Bradley Barnes dropped a thin edge behind the stumps. Taruvar was reprieved again just after crossing his half-century from 105 balls when Parnell dropped a skied sitter at mid-on. With 34 to win from 17.3 overs Taruvar charged Parnell and Rossouw made no mistake at midwicket. Srivastava overcame a nervous start to progress to 47 from 61 balls but he followed Taruvar, clean bowled by one from Pieter Malan that stayed low. Saurabh Tiwary was unlucky to be given out lbw to one that pitched outside leg as the jitters continued. Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey knocked off the runs in the 42nd over.
Later, Ray Jennings, South Africa's coach, spoke of how his side was playing two games in two days and the effects were evident on a hot, muggy day.
Jamie Alter is a staff writer at Cricinfo