Un­der-19s off to a strong start in World Cup

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

STEPHAN SMITH’S ma­tu­rity and ex­pe­ri­ence led South Africa Un­der-19 to a five-wicket victory over Ire­land in their first match of the ICC U19 World Cup in Queen­stown yes­ter­day.

Smith, who has been part of the U19 set-up for the past three years, scored a steady un­beaten 67, as the ju­nior Proteas started off in the best pos­si­ble way.

“I’m very sat­is­fied with our per­for­mance to­day, four or five of our play­ers put in great per­for­mances and that will give them the con­fi­dence go­ing into the re­main­der of the matches. The big match will be against Aus­tralia and hope­fully we can take the mo­men­tum for­ward,” said coach, Ray Jen­nings.

Smith was the an­chor in South Africa’s chase of 217, af­ter Josh Richards and Do­minic Hen­dricks got off to a sta­ble start with a 67-run open­ing part­ner­ship.

The de­par­ture of Hen­dricks for a quick-fire 47 off 49 balls gave way to Smith, who shared in three vi­tal part­ner­ships with Colin Ack­er­mann (39), Malcolm No­fal (57) and Kirk Wernars (50*).

Wernars, of Sacs, joined Smith at the crease with South Africa looking frag­ile at 170/5 and played the per­fect num­ber seven in­nings, as he and Smith com­fort­ably reached the tar­get in the 44th over.

“Stephan is show­ing the type of ma­tu­rity that three years in the setup brings. Many felt that he shouldn’t be on tour but he has been an in­vest­ment that is prov­ing its worth,” re­marked Jen­nings.

South Africa’s bowl­ing at­tack, in­spired by ac­cu­rate and con­sis­tent bowl­ing from Gra­ham Hume, re­stricted Ire­land to 216/6 af­ter 50 overs.

Rabian En­gel­brecht (2/52) was ef­fec­tive with the new ball, pick­ing up two early wick­ets which left Ire­land strug­gling at 36/4, be­fore a 117-run part­ner­ship be­tween Ben Ack­land and Lee Nel­son buoyed the Ir­ish to a re­spectable to­tal.

Hume and left-arm or­tho­dox bowler, Dale Deeb, were the most eco­nom­i­cal of the South African bowlers.

South Africa play the United States on Mon­day be­fore pre­par­ing for their tough­est match of the group against Aus­tralia on Wed­nes­day. – cricket.co.za

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