Head coach Lawrence Mahatlane believes his team will be up for a contest when the South Africa under-19s take on the Zimbabwe under-19s in their third match of the Youth One-Day (ODI) Quadrangular series in Durban on Tuesday.
After going down by 66 runs to India in the first game, which was followed by an impressive five-wicket win over New Zealand, the junior Proteas will be looking to make it back-to-back victories against Zimbabwe and earn a place in the series final taking place on Thursday.
Mahatlane highlighted the performances of Zimbabwe in the four-team series so far, in their defeats to New Zealand and India, stating that his side will have to be on their game against a side featuring players that attend school in South Africa.
“A lot of the Zim players play in South Africa in schoolboy cricket,” the coach mentioned ahead of the encounter. “One of their best players, Wesley (Madhevere), is at St Charles College and we’ve seen him dominate in Schools T20 Cricket.
“It’s a good side at age-group level and it will be a good challenge. They were unlucky to lose to New Zealand and managed to score 200 against an Indian bowling attack. We know how good they can be and it is important that we stick to our processes and if we get them right, we should be okay.
“Hopefully we can keep building on what we’ve done so far,” Mahatlane added.
The matches are being used as key preparation for the ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup to be hosted in South Africa from 17 January – 09 February.
Mahatlane analysed the positives from the team’s recent matches and the aspects that still require some work with bat and ball ahead of the first match of the global showpiece against Afghanistan at the Diamond Oval.
“If you look at the India game, we had opportunities,” he began. “We had them two down quite quickly and unfortunately, we couldn’t break the partnership after that. In the games where we’ve been successful, we managed to strike straight after powerplay one and in the games we haven’t been successful, we allowed them to drag out the first powerplay and build a partnership.
“That has been our challenge, we understand that and we’ve come up with a couple of solutions for it,” Mahatlane continued.
“From a batting point of view, we’ve had good starts by dragging those partnerships at the top, which has allowed us to go through comfortably. When we haven’t done well, is when we lost wickets in clusters and that is something that we’re looking to work on, getting your mate in and making sure that you get him to at least ten runs and build new partnerships.
“We still have four games before the before the opening game of the World Cup and hopefully something will work out,” the coach said.
Although there have been notable performances from Andrew Louw, who recorded his second Youth ODI half-century against New Zealand along with bowlers, Mondli Khumalo and Odirile Modimokoane, who have both claimed four-wicket hauls in the opening two games, nobody can argue with the impact from SA U19s captain, Bryce Parsons.
The all-rounder has scored consecutive fifties against his Indian and New Zealand counterparts and delivered a sublime performance with the ball against the latter, bowling five maidens in his eight overs, going for six runs and taking one wicket. This is after recovering from an impingement injury in his back, which kept him out of action for six weeks.
“He has worked very hard to get himself fit again and ready to play, and he has been outstanding,” Mahatlane beamed about his skipper. “I thought he’s bowled superbly, and that confidence has flowed to his batting and his leadership.
“He’s always been a natural reader of the game and has very good instincts in terms of how the game works.
“I have been very proud of his performance and I know the boys have also been looking forward to playing alongside him,” he concluded.
The matches will also be available for live streaming on www.pitchvision.com.
SA under-19 Youth ODI Quadrangular v India, NZ & Zim Squad:
Bryce Parsons (Central Gauteng, capt), Khanya Cotani (North West, vice-capt), Luke Beaufort (Eastern Province), Jonathan Bird (Western Province), Merrick Brett (Northerns), Achille Cloete (Boland), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Tyrese Karelse (South Western Districts), Mondli Khumalo (KwaZulu-Natal), Jack Lees (Central Gauteng), Andrew Louw (Northern Cape), Levert Manje (Central Gauteng), Odirile Modimokoane (North West), Pheko Moletsane (Free State), Tiaan van Vuuren (Eastern Province).
SA under-19 Youth ODI Quadrangular v India, New Zealand & Zimbabwe Fixtures:
Tue 07 5th Youth ODI South Africa U19 vs Zimbabwe U19 (Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Cricket Ground)
Tue 07 6th Youth ODI India U19 vs New Zealand U19 (Chatsworth Cricket Oval)
Thu 09 7th Youth ODI (Bronze) 3rd Place vs 4th Place (Chatsworth Cricket Oval)
Thu 09 8th Youth ODI (Final) 1st Place vs 2nd Place (Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Cricket Ground)