CLYDE FORTUIN and Murray Coetzee blazed their way to a 199-run opening partnership in 31 overs to lead Coca-Cola South Africa to a nine-wicket victory and a 5-0 series win in the final Youth under-19 ODI against England at Sahara Park Newlands on Friday.
Fortuin suffered the heart-break of being brilliantly caught at midwicket by Ryan Gibson off a full-blooded pull shot to be dismissed one run short of his century before Coetzee went on to complete his century and be named Man of the Match.
Fortuin, who was the leading runs scorer in the series and also kept wicket efficiently in four of the five matches, was named Man of the Series. It was a remarkable performance by the 17-year-old who has had to keep wicket and open the batting in five ODIs in the space of nine days.
After England had been restricted to 210/8 Fortuin set off like an express train and had 30 runs on the board before Coetzee had hardly got off the mark. He scored his runs off 79 balls with 16 fours, displaying a rich array of strokes all around the ground. Coetzee was slightly less spectacular but no less effective in finishing unbeaten on 103 off 111 balls with 14 fours.
England, sent into bat, got off to a dreadful start when Kagiso Rabada exploited the pitch with easily the most pace and bounce in the series, to have them two wickets down without a run on the board. They might have been in even worse trouble but for four dropped catches and it allowed Dominic Sibley (84 off 142 balls, 6 fours and a six) and Ed Barnard (53 off 85 balls, 5 fours) to give England a platform from which to attack with a third-wicket stand of 136.
The match turned for ever when Daryn Dupavillion produced a Yorker with the first delivery of the statutory batting power play to bowl Barnard. England was never in the game after that. The power play produced only 19 runs for the loss of Barnard’s wicket and England only managed to hit one boundary in the final 15 overs of their innings.
It underlined their major weakness throughout the series of having a lot of good accumulators in their line-up but a lack of aggressive stroke-players.
In all they scored 74 runs in the last 15 overs for the loss of six wickets which was very close to a repeat of the previous game.
The South African seamers were once again outstanding and much will be heard in future of Rabada and Ngazibini Sigwili in particular.
The real victory for South Africa is that there look to be a good half-dozen players who should be ready to play franchise cricket in the very near future.