Clyde Fortuin top-scored with 72 runs  Photo Courtesy: Clyde Fortuin's Facebook page
Clyde Fortuin top-scored with 72 runs Photo Courtesy: Clyde Fortuin’s Facebook page

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Dubai: Feb 26, 2014

 

South Africa Under-19 were restricted to 230 for nine in their semi-final against Australia in the ICC Under-19 World Cup at Dubai. Clyde Fortuin top-scored with 74.

 

When South Africa won the toss and chose to bat against Australia in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 semi-final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, not many would have been surprised given that it is a knockout. But, considering the recent history, one may have been tempted to bowl first in Dubai as the side batting first has often struggled and stuttered at the start. That didn’t quite happen with South Africa as they got off to a good start courtesy their openers, but were then pegged by regular wickets to just about get an above par score of 230.

 

Australia’s bowlers looked a little off-track at the beginning. They weren’t able to hold their line early on and conceded too many extras in the first 15 overs. Consider this: as many as eight wides were bowled by then and the openers had no issues adjusting.

 

One could see skipper Aiden Markram and his partner Clyde Fortuin in good touch. They have been in good touch through the tournament and continued from where they left off against Afghanistan. This time, however, it was Fortuin who was the more attacking of the two. Markram was more measured and chose his opportunities to score. But, in the first 15-20 overs, they adopted a simple approach as the Australians weren’t finding their spots.

 

The one thing that stood out about their approach was the way they played shots through the off-side. With a little bit of width on offer, they simply hit it with good power through the covers and point. Australia had a point, cover and a mid-off, with a sweeper at extra-cover. Yet, both batsmen found the boundaries through there quite easily. Australia rarely bowled a right line then and were searching for an inspiring moment.

 

Markram and Fortuin brought up the 100-run stand, but soon after Markram lofted James Bazley through the off-side and was brilliantly caught by Guy Walker at point. The ball was at a fair height and Walker moved across and stretched his hand to take it mid air. But, even after that, South Africa continued to rally strongly with Fortuin going strong. He got to his fifty and looked for a lot more, when on 74, he spooned an easy catch to the covers off Matthew Short.

 

South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals thereafter and in many ways, it was similar to Pakistan’s quarter-final against Sri Lanka, although they did not put up such a big score. Yaseen Valli, one of their brightest stars in the tournament, was one who stood through and tried to make a good score. In the batting powerplay, from overs 36-40, South Africa slowed down considerably as they scored only 12 runs and lost the wicket of Greg Oldfield.

 

In the slog overs, Valli did try to hit out, but wasn’t able to find the boundaries quite easily. It was important for him to stay right through and ensure South Africa get a good score. The par score has been about 220 as chasing hasn’t been the easiest.

 

But, given the successful run-chases at Dubai in the knockouts, will it be a good score? There is no dew usually in Dubai, and it may just be the case where the bowlers may find it easier.

 

Brief scores:

 

South Africa Under-19 230 for 9 in 50 overs (Clyde Fortuin 74, Aiden Markram 45; Matthew Short 2 for 14, Ben Ashkenazi 2 for 37) vs Australia Under-19.

 

Full Scorecard

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)