A World Cup to forget for SA
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
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