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