Asakhe Tsaka of the SA Under19s tries to hit the ball during the T20 Cup match against the North West Dragons. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Asakhe Tsaka of the SA Under19s tries to hit the ball during the T20 Cup match against the North West Dragons. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Reasons for optimism but young Proteas come back crashing down to earth

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Oct 9, 2021

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North West Dragons 142/4

SA Under-19 99 all out

Dragons won by 43 runs

Johannesburg - One day after thrilling viewers with an energetic and aggressive display, the SA Under-19 team returned to earth with a thump on Saturday.

Again there were fleeting moments of hope for the junior Proteas, although not as many as was the case against the Eastern Storm on Friday.

In that match, the SA under-19s showed that there was plenty of talent within their ranks, especially with the bat. However, understandably, there were weaknesses, particularly with the ball, where the side lacks a proper pace option, although left-arm seamer Aphiwe Mnyanda, who didn’t play on Friday, but got a chance on Saturday, provided some reasons for optimism.

The opposition has also had a look at them now, and it was clear from how the Dragons’ senior players - Senuran Muthusamy, who has Test experience and fast bowler Eldred Hawken - bowled, that they were not going to allow the youngsters room to play their shots.

That, along with the inability to balance their aggression with a bit of patience, proved costly yesterday.

Mnyanda's left arm pace certainly improved the balance of the bowling unit, while Joshua Stephenson, who struggled with his length on Friday, delivered better in that regard, and picked up two wickets as a result.

Asakhe Tsaka impressed with his left-arm spin, taking 1/23, while Dewald Brevis, who lit up social media on Friday with his batting exploits, showed again that his leg-spin is worth developing as he claimed the wicket of the Dragons’s stand-in captain Muthusamy.

It was a conservative effort from the Potchefstroom-based Dragons, with Shaylen Pillay, playing an anchor role in making 60 not out off 49 balls, hitting just four fours. Muthusamy’s 32 was the next highest score for the Dragons, but his strike rate of 84.21 was indicative of the lack of intent the North West team showed.

However, while their total looked below par on the scoreboard, it proved more than enough with Hawken, picking up three wickets inside the power play, including that of Brevis for 16, with a slower ball that the talented right hander sliced to point.

Valintine Kitime top scored with 29 for the Under-19s, in what was a disappointing effort with the bat, but one that their coach Shukri Conrad, will hope provides lessons. Hawken with 3/18 and Muthusamy with 3/16, were the best of the Dragons bowlers, ensuring their side earned a bonus point, which keeps them in contention ahead of their final group match against the Eastern Storm on Sunday.

@shockerhess

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