Kagiso Rabada took an outstanding six wickets for 25 to bowl the Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s to the final of the ICC U19 World Cup when they beat Australia by a convincing 80 runs at the Dubai Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
The young Proteas are the first South African side to beat an Australian team in the semi-final of a World Cup.
South Africa, who are still undefeated in the tournament, including the warm-up matches, will play in their third ever U19 World Cup final when they take on Pakistan on Saturday. The last time the side took part in a final was in 2008 when it was captained by Wayne Parnell.
South Africa posted a competitive 230/9 after electing to bat first. Captain, Aiden Markram, and Clyde Fortuin set up the side well with a 105-run opening stand before the former was removed by James Brazley for 45 in the 21st over. Fortuin took the lead in his 45-run, second-wicket partnership with Kirwin Christoffels (20) until Matthew Short brought an end to his innings on 74.
The Australian spin attack did well to restrict South Africa from 150/2 to 196/5. Yaseen Valli played a vital role in reviving the innings, adding 31 runs off 36 balls to move the side to the defendable score.
Australia’s batsmen could not contend with Rabada’s pace in their reply. He dispatched the top three batsmen for 12 runs and less, leaving them floundering on 33/3 after nine overs. Corbin Bosch took the vital wickets of Jake Doran and captain, Alex Gregory, for 36 and 31 respectively.
Valli contributed with the ball as well, removing Brazely for 22 before Rabada cleaned up the rest of the tail. They won with just under seven overs remaining.
An ecstatic captain, Markram, commented:
“I couldn’t be more proud of the guys today,” he said. “We started off well with the bat and although we had a few hiccups here and there, we were able to post a good score thanks to Yas (Valli) in the end.
“KG (Rabada) was outstanding today, he’s a really special bowler and he’s got a really bright future ahead of himself if he continues this way. We are so happy to have made the country proud, beating Australia was definitely something we were gunning for and we are chuffed we were able to do it.”
The team has two days to prepare for the biggest match of their lives this Saturday.