Johannesburg – Aiden Markram led his team from the front virtually from the first match to the last as the South Africa under-19 squad beat Pakistan by a convincing six wickets with 47 balls to spare in the ICC Junior World Cup Final in Dubai on Saturday.
It was South Africa's first victory in this tournament and was the third time they had reached the final, having previously achieved that distinction in 2002 under Hashim Amla and in 2008
under Wayne Parnell.
After losing the toss, the Baby Proteas did a brilliant job in bowling Pakistan out for 131 in only 44.3 overs thanks to an all-round effort from their quartet of seam bowlers, Markram took charge of the runs chase to finish unbeaten on 66 (125 balls, 6
fours) as the Proteas got across the line after 42.1 overs.
Markram has played successive innings at the tournament of 3, 31, 120 not out, 105 not out, 45 (in the semi-final against Australia) and 66 not out (in the Final) for an aggregate of 370
runs at an average of 123.
The key partnership was that for the third wicket between Markram and Greg Oldfield of 71 in 21 overs after the first two wickets had fallen cheaply.
Corbin Bosch, son of Tertius Bosch, who represented the Proteas at their first World Cup in 1992 and also in their first Test match after unity against the West Indies, had the best bowling return of 4/15 while Clyde Fortuin took six catches behind the stumps.
Kagiso Rabada, who made the initial breakthrough, finished with 14 wickets in the tournament to be the joint second leading wicket-taker.
Fortuin had 20 dismissals (19 catches and a stumping) in the tournament which was twice the number of anybody else.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) sent the team a message of congratulations on their victory.
“Winning the U-19 World Cup for the first time is a wonderful day for South African cricket to celebrate,” said CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.
“Without exception we are all very impressed by the manner in which our U-19 team won this world cup.
“The way they dominated today's Final from the very first ball and being the only team unbeaten throughout the tournament showed all the hallmarks of a championship team.
“I would like to extend warm congratulations from the CSA Family and indeed from the whole nation to coach Ray Jennings, captain Aiden Markram and all the other players and members of the squad for this inspiring achievement.
“There are a lot of other people who need to be thanked for assisting in the selection and preparation of the side. It is rewarding to see our development structures producing a winning team and such good players.
“To have the best team in the world at Test and under-19 level is worth celebrating. As South Africans we can all be justifiably proud.”– Sapa