South Africa book U19 Cricket World Cup semi-final spot with Sri Lanka victory

SA Under-19 bowler Kwena Maphaka in action

The Junior Proteas are ripe and in red-hot form as they displayed on Friday with a 113-run victory over Sri Lanka at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, with Kwena Maphaka shining again. Picture: ICC

Published Feb 2, 2024


From the moment the Director of Cricket, Enoch Nkwe, and Co decided to make room for South Africa Under-19s in the professional scene, it was inevitable that the Junior Proteas would be miles ahead of their peers.

Two seasons into Cricket SA's Division 2 Cricket going up against the country's seasoned professionals, Kwena Maphaka and his teammates have gone on to win two Cricket SA trophies, namely the T20 Knockout (last season) and the One Day Cup earlier this season.

As a result, the ongoing Under-19 Cricket World Cup has seen South Africa reap the rewards of throwing the youngsters into the deep end as the Junior Proteas have mostly made light work of their opponents in this campaign.

The Junior Proteas are ripe and in red-hot form as they displayed on Friday with a 113-run victory over Sri Lanka at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom.

Spearheading the Proteas attack

The victory was spearheaded by the bowling sensation, Maphaka as the 17-year-old registered a third five-for in the tournament, his fourth overall in Cricket World Cups.

However, there were heart-stopping moments in the side's quest to defend a target of 233 runs as the hosts needed a convincing victory to push their net-run-rate well ahead that of the West Indies in order to qualify for the semi-finals.

To kick start South Africa's bowling innings, Maphaka delivered a wicket maiden, dismissing Pulundi Perera for a duck and set the tone for the rest of the attack.

Maphaka followed up his first over with one wicket in each of his next two overs, claiming the wickets of Sudun Waduge and Sineth Jayawardena (6 off 13).

As good as Maphaka was in his new ball spell, there were some nervy moments as the slip cordon of Steve Stolk and Richard Seletswane put down two sitters.

However, Maphaka was relentless and by the time he finished his spell, he had completed a five-wicket haul to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 51/5.

Soon after Maphaka took a breather, captain Juan James brought all-rounder Riley Norton into the attack, looking sweep Sri Lanka's lower-order aside.

Norton did just that, claiming figures of 4/28.

Openers set the platform

Earlier, the opening duo of Lhuan-dre Pretorius (71 off 77, 10x4) and Stolk (22 off 17, 4x4) got off to a cracking start with bat in hand and set a 63-run stand before the latter was dismissed by left-arm spinner Vishwa Lahiru (2-44 in 10 overs).

David Teeger (10 off 25) and Pretorius followed up with a 40-run stand, before a struggling Teeger was run-out. From there on in, the Junior Proteas struggled to put together significant partnerships.

Spinners Sapun Waduge (2/28 in 10 overs) and Malsha Tharupathi (2/46 in 10 overs) ripped through South Africa's middle-order, leaving the hosts on 133/6.

Romashan Pillay (27 off 53, 1x4) and Norton (41* off 69) led South Africa's fightback, combining for a slow but effective 49 for the seventh-wicket.

Ultimately, Norton carried his bat, playing an unbeaten 41, a knock that saw the batter score only in singles to get the hosts to a defendable target of 232/8 in their allotted 50 overs.

Brief scores:

SA: 232-8 (Lhuan-dre Pretorius 71, Steve Stolk 22, Sapun Waduge 1-28, Vishwa Lahiru 2-44)

SRI: 113-10 (Sharujan Shanmuganathan 29, Malsha Tharupathi 21, Kwena Maphaka 6-21, Riley Norton 4-28)


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