AIDEN MARKRAM led his team from the front virtually from the first match to the last as the South Africa under-19 Coca-Cola squad beat Pakistan by a convincing six wickets with 47 balls to spare in the ICC Junior World Cup Final in Dubai on Saturday.
It was South Africa’s first victory in this tournament and was the third time they had reached the Final, having previously achieved that distinction in 2002 under Hashim Amla and 2008 under Wayne Parnell.
After the Baby Proteas, after losing the toss, had done a brilliant job in bowling Pakistan out for 131 in only 44.3 overs thanks to an all-round effort from their quartet of seam bowlers, Markram took charge of the runs chase to finish unbeaten on 66 (125 balls, 6 fours) as the Proteas got across the line after 42.1 overs.
Markram has played successive innings at the tournament of 3, 31, 120 not out, 105 not out, 45 (in the semi-final against Australia) and 66 not out (in the Final) for an aggregate of 370 runs at an average of 123.
The key partnership was that for the third wicket between Markram and Greg Oldfield of 71 in 21 overs after the first two wickets had fallen cheaply. That basically killed off the runs chase.
Corbin Bosch, son of Tertius Bosch, who represented the Proteas at their first World Cup in 1992 and also in their first Test match after unity against the West Indies, had the best bowling return of 4/15 while Clyde Fortuin took six catches behind the stumps.
Kagiso Rabada, who made the initial breakthrough, finished with 14 wickets in the tournament to be the joint second leading wicket-taker.
Fortuin had 20 dismissals (19 catches and a stumping) in the tournament which was twice the number of anybody else.