The South African U19 team were able to get over the line against New Zealand at the World Cup. Photo: @OfficialCSA
CHRISTCHURCH – New Zealand saw off a significant South African threat to remain unbeaten in Group A of their Under 19 Cricket World Cup match as they ran out out 71-run victors in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Saturday.

It had seemed a tricky tie, and for large parts of the match, the momentum did swing back and forth. 

In the end, though, New Zealand had it easy, winning by 71 runs. Rachin Ravindra, put in a fine all-round display, first hitting an 89-ball 6 to help New Zealand post 279/8 and then returning 4/32 to bowl South Africa out for 208. That South Africa made as much was down to Hermann Rolfes’ 124-ball 108, and a supportive run-a-ball 54 from Jean du Plessis.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, New Zealand got the perfect start to their innings with Jakob Bhula and Ravindra adding a century partnership to their double century partnership made in New Zealand’s last game against Kenya. Bhula though looked decidedly less fluent than he had during the course of his U19 record 180 and was the first to depart, slapping Kgaudisa Molefe straight to cover.

His departure brought Finn Allen to the crease, the adventurous batsman seemingly maintaining the form which had brought him a match-winning century and a 40-ball 90 in his first two innings of the tournament, getting off the mark with a six and hitting a further three boundaries soon after.

But with the game racing away from South Africa, Jade de Klerk summoned a moment of brilliance to break it wide open, tearing in from cover point as Ravindra sent back Allen and nailing the stumps direct to catch the Kiwi batsman short.

It was a dismissal that triggered a collapse of 5/30, including Ravindra, who departed for an excellent 76. In the end, New Zealand had Dale Phillips and Max Chu to thank for dragging them to a defendable total, the pair adding 77, with strong running a feature of their partnership.

South Africa were by no means run ragged, however, and can be pleased with their combined fielding effort, each bowler taking at least one wicket. However, their batsmen will be disappointed.

They were reduced 7/2 within three overs, Matthew Fisher sending back both Jiveshan Pillay (0) and Raynard van Tonder (2). Matthew Breetzke hung around for a 40-ball 15, allowing Rolfes to settle in. The two added a 48-run stand before Breetzke stint in the middle was ended by Ravindra – it was his first of many, as Wandile Makwetu (9) would find out, chipping one back to the bowler.

South Africa finally found some resistance. Rolfes and du Plessis got together, settled in and soon unleashed the boundaries. Rolfes soon neared his maiden ICC U19 CWC century, bringing up the mark with a single towards midwicket. At the time, it seemed South Africa were still alive in a match, provided these two hung around.

However, when Rolfes holed out off Ben Lockrose, attempting to up the ante, a collapse was triggered. And this time, there would be no recovery. South Africa lost six wickets for just 26 runs, during the course of which the only positive for them was that du Plessis notched up a half-century before falling to Bhula.

Ravindra couldn’t claim a five-for, the final wicket a run-out that he himself effected. That was the only blip as New Zealand set themselves up well for the Super League quarterfinals. 

African News Agency

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