A World Cup to for­get for SA

CityPress - - Sport - MA­SUD ALAM sports@city­press.co.za

De­spite its sta­tus as a global tour­na­ment, the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) Un­der-19 World Cup, the big­gest plat­form for cricket’s ris­ing stars, went about its busi­ness qui­etly in Bangladesh, where the West Indies were crowned the new cham­pi­ons last Sun­day.

The Caribbean team got off to a wob­bly start af­ter los­ing their open­ing game against Eng­land by 61 runs. The young Windies en­tered the quar­ter­fi­nal in con­tro­ver­sial fash­ion af­ter Keemo Paul ef­fected a “Mankad” (run­ning the non-strik­ing bats­man out in­stead of bowl­ing the ball) to claim the last Zim­bab­wean wicket and emerge vic­to­ri­ous. On their road to vic­tory, they beat Pak­istan, hosts Bangladesh and hot favourites In­dia in the fi­nal.

In­dia, by con­trast, soared into the fi­nal for the fifth time af­ter their dom­i­nat­ing 97-run win against Sri Lanka in the first semi­fi­nal, while the West Indies youths pre­vailed over Bangladesh by three wick­ets in the se­cond semi.

Put in to bat first, three-time cham­pi­ons In­dia were sur­pris­ingly skit­tled out for a below-par 145 at the Sher-e-Bangla Na­tional Cricket Sta­dium in Mir­pur, Dhaka.

The match lasted un­til the last over, but the Caribbean boys got them­selves over the line with three balls and five wick­ets to spare. Keacy Carty was ad­judged the man of the match for his mon­u­men­tal ef­fort with the bat.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons South Africa, who were un­ex­pect­edly elim­i­nated from the group stages, had drawn a mea­sure of con­so­la­tion by win­ning their ninth-place play-off against Ire­land.

In­cred­i­bly, Namibia emerged as a new power in ju­nior cricket by brush­ing aside the ju­nior Proteas by two wick­ets and de­feat­ing Scot­land dur­ing the 18-day tour­na­ment.

The South African lads never re­ally got go­ing in the tour­na­ment af­ter los­ing the open­ing match against the hosts. Un­like at the pre­vi­ous tour­na­ment, which of­fered up the likes of ex­cit­ing fast bowler Kag­iso Rabada, there were no clear stand-out play­ers knock­ing on the door of na­tional se­lec­tion, but the ex­pe­ri­ence would have been a valu­able one for the young­sters, and fu­ture lo­cal stars will no doubt emerge from this group in time.

Other coun­tries will feel more en­cour­aged by their young guns. Eng­land’s bats­men Dan Lawrence and Jack Burn­ham put to­gether a record 303-run part­ner­ship for any wicket at youth level in their one-day in­ter­na­tional against Fiji. The pair im­proved the age-old record of New Zealand’s BJ Watling and Brad Wil­son, who had amassed 273 runs in Fe­bru­ary 2004 against Scot­land. Lawrence’s 174 is the se­cond-high­est score recorded in an Un­der-19 World Cup. He was only two runs short of the high­est-ever score, a record held by the West Indies’ Dono­van Pagon.

Bangladeshi bats­man Naz­mul Hos­sain be­came the high­est run get­ter (1 806 runs) in youth ODIs, over­tak­ing Pak­istan’s Sami As­lam (1 695 runs). Young Tiger Me­hedi Hasan Mi­raz picked up 80 wick­ets in 56 matches, im­prov­ing on Pak­istan’s Imad Wasim for the most wick­ets in youth ODIs. Wasim has picked up 73 wick­ets in 49 matches. He was named player of the tour­na­ment for his 242 runs and 12 wick­ets in six matches.

Alam is a reporter for Prothom Alo, a Ben­gali-lan­guage news­pa­per in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is in SA cour­tesy of the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists

PHOTO: PAL PIL­LAI / GETTY IM­AGES FOR NIS­SAN

WHACK Keacy Carty of West Indies bats on his team’s way to vic­tory in the

ICC Un­der-19 World Cup fi­nal

against In­dia last week

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