CLYDE FORTUIN grabbed the opportunity given to him by coach Ray Jennings to open the batting to lead Coca-Cola South Africa to a seven-wicket victory over England at Boland Park on Wednesday in the first of five under-19 Youth ODI’s between the two countries.
The second match takes place at WPCC on Friday.
South Africa, who had won the toss, had been set a testing target of 222 after restricting England to 221/9 in their 50 overs.
For the first time during this tour South Africa got away to a good start with Fortuin and Andries Gous adding 74 for the first wicket and Fortuin and his captain, Diego Rosier, a further 71 for the second. That broke the back of the target and the middle-order had little trouble in finishing the job with four overs to spare.
Fortuin was named Man of the Match for his innings of 75 (117 balls, 6 fours and a six). When he was dismissed 40 runs were still needed for victory and he might well have gone on to reach three figures but for a superb catch by Harry Finch in the covers.
It was one of two outstanding catches on the day as Gous took a superb running-and-diving catch on the extra cover boundary during the England innings.
Lizaad Williams took full advantage of a well-grassed pitch to give South Africa a perfect start. He took three wickets to put England on the back foot at 22/3 in an opening spell that read 6-1-12-3. It included an incredible 30 dot balls.
Ben Duckett, taking over as captain from Oli Stone, produced a real lead-from-the-front effort to re-establish the innings in successive partnerships of 60 with Finch for the fourth wicket and 47 for the fifth with Jonathan Tattersall.
The left-hander excelled with his ability to work the ball into gaps and the running between the wickets of the batsmen was also impressive. There were, in fact, only 11 boundaries in the first 30 overs but England still managed to get their run rate close to four to the over.
Duckett reached a well deserved half-century off 64 balls (6 fours) but then seemed to lose concentration as he holed out to mid-on against the spin of Bradley Dial.
England reached the second drinks break, leading into the last 16 overs with the batting power play still available, on 133/5.
The ball was starting to keep low which suggested that any total in the region of 200 would be very defendable.
England would have been pleased with their power play effort during which they scored 30 runs without losing a wicket.
South Africa lifted their game at the start of the last 10 overs when Jason Smith bowled Ryan Shaw with the first ball after the power play to halt a promising partnership of 36 and then Tattersall (41 off 55 balls, 2 fours) fell to a brilliant running-and-diving catch at on the deep extra cover boundary by Andries Gous off the left-arm spin of Yaseen Valli.
Jeff Overton laid in the long handle with some powerful hitting to enable England to finish on a very competitive 221/9.
Williams finished with 3/38 and Smith with 2/38.
Andries Gous and Clyde Fortuin started the South African innings very conservatively with a run rate of little more than one to the over during the opening power play. But once they had got through the new ball period their partnership started to flourish and they shared a productive partnership of 74 in 18 overs before Gous was bowled by a beautiful delivery from spinner Tom Shrewsbury.
Fortuin then went from strength to strength and he and Rosier gradually batted England out of the match during a second-wicket partnership of 71 in 15 overs.
Both were subsequently dismissed, Fortuin for a superb 75 off 117 balls (6 fours and a six) thanks to a fine catch in the covers by Finch.
But at that stage South Africa only needed 40 runs in 11.4 overs with seven wickets in hand.
David Bedingham and Murray Coetzee knocked off the required runs in 7.4 overs to give South Africa victory with exactly four overs and seven wickets in hand.
Tattersall (2/36) completed a good all-round match by being England’s most successful bowler.