The Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s suffered their first defeat when they faced their hosts in Visakhapatnam, India on Wednesday. A century from Sarfaraz Khan and an unbeaten 94 from Ricky Bhui ensured a cruising, four-wicket victory for the side that was just too good on the day.
It was a tough lesson in adapting to conditions when they stepped into 29 degree heat at nine o’clock in the morning for the South Africans, who won the toss and elected to bat first. Aiden Markham was not up to the challenging heat, losing his wicket without scoring in the fourth over. Jason Smith joined Clyde Fortuin at the crease for a 30-run stand before the former was dispatched by the off-spinner, Deepak Hooda for 16.
Fortuin and debutante Lloyd Brown brought much needed calm to the innings. They shared a 124-run partnership before Fortuin lost his wicket with just 10 runs short of a century. Brown and Bradley Dial (35) continued to punish bad balls, sending boundaries and maximums sailing all over the ground before their 46-run stand was brought to an end by CV Milind (3/52) with the dismissal of Brown (69) in the 43rd over.
South Africa did well until they began to play risky shots after Dial departed in the 46th. Greg Oldfield was the last to contribute a performance of substance, he scored 30 off 21 balls but also failed to consolidate his innings to help his side to the competitive total that it needed. They ended their innings on 270/8.
In reply, India got off to a flying start, racing to 47 in four overs at a run rate of more than 11 an over. Justin Dill struck twice at the start of the fifth over, removing Akhil Herwadkar for 26 off 11 balls and the dangerous Vijay Zol for a duck. Lungisani Ngidi earned his first international wicket on debut when Ankush Bains was trapped leg before for 18 just three balls later.
It would be the last wicket the South Africans would see for more than 10 overs as Bhui shared a 46-run partnership with Shreyas Iyer. It was broken by Andile Phehlukwayo, who set Iyer up to be caught by Oldfield for 22. The partnership that saw the game move away from the visitors was that of Bhui and Khan. They added 159 for the sixth wicket at more than six runs an over to propel India to victory, even the consolation wicket of Khan and the run out of Hooda in the 36th and 37th overs could not change the course of the match. India won with just over 10 overs to spare.
South Africa’s captain, Yaseen Valli was disappointed by the loss; “We got beaten by a very mature side, we were really outplayed,” he said. “The only thing we can do now is to look to rectify the numerous errors we made when we were fielding and come back roaring against Zimbabwe.”
South Africa will face Zimbabwe at the Port Diamond Jubilee Stadium on Friday and Valli is not planning on taking them lightly, he said: “We look at every international match in the same light. There are no weak teams here as far as we’re concerned, every team has a few good players that can change the course of the game. We’re going to come out fighting and hopefully get a win under our belt.”