The JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom was yet again graced with another Kwena Maphaka special as the left-arm quick further stamped his authority on what is a home World Cup for South Africa.
It all started with the 17-year-old picking up where he left off in the group stages, producing yet another stunning new ball spell for South Africa.
This time around, South Africa had a perfect new ball partner for Maphaka in right-arm quick Raeeq Daniels (0/36 in 7 overs), as the pair squeezed Zimbabwe and gave nothing away to opposition’s opening batters.
With the relentless pressure from the new ball bowlers, a run-out followed soon after, leading to Nathaniel Hlabangana’s (1 off 9) demise courtesy of a neat fielding display from Romashan Pillay to leave Zimbabwe on 2-1 two overs into the contest.
Maphaka followed up with three wickets in two overs, leaving Zimbabwe in all sorts of trouble with the score reading 16/4 inside the first five overs.
Thanks to a 53-run fifth-wicket partnership between batters Ronak Patel (32off 30, 5x4) and Ryan Kamwemba (24 off 42, 3x4), Zimbabwe looked to be fighting back before medium-pacer Tristan Luus (3-25 in 7.2 overs) picked up his first of three scalps in the match.
Maphaka returned into the attack and secured his third Youth ODI five-for with figures of 5-34 in ten overs. The left-armer now has the joint-most five-wicket hauls at the U19 level and is sitting third in South Africa’s all-time wicket-takers at the U19 level.
Maphaka hit the stumps on four occasions yesterday and credited his wicket-to-wicket game plan for his success.
“I’m quite happy for my performance. I’ve worked really hard for this, so I’m happy that I could put in another good performance for the team,” said Maphaka.
“I’ve been working on my in-swingers quite a bit and they came out really nicely today. (When I’m at the top of my run-up) there’s definitely a lot of thought about hitting the stumps quite often. That’s my stock ball, something that I go to often and something that I really love doing.”
In reply, Lhuan-dre Pretorius (53* off 39) struck nine boundaries and a solitary six on his way to scoring his first half-ton of the tournament. And alongside him, Steve Stolk (37 off 29) struck six boundaries and a six to complete an 86-run stand between the opening batters.
Despite losing Stolk just after the first powerplay, Pretorius soldiered on and guided South Africa to victory.
Following the nine-wicket victory over our neighbours, Zimbabwe, Maphaka backs his teammates to go further in the tournament should they continue playing at high intensity.
“The boys are feeling good and we know we can go really far in this tournament. We need to keep pushing and keep working.” said Maphaka.
The Junior Proteas will be back in action on Friday when they take on Sri Lanka in Potchefstroom.
Zimbabwe: 102/10 (Ronak Patel 32, Ryan Kamwemba 24, Kwena Maphaka 5-34, Tristan Luus 3-25)
South Africa: 103-1 (Lhuan-dre Pretorius 53 , Steve Stolk 37)
South Africa won by nine wickets