SA Cricket magazine profiles five rising stars who have impressed at the U19 World Cup Qualifiers in Potchefstroom.
The long road to the 2020 U19 World Cup continues with the knockout stages of the U19 World Cup Qualifiers (Africa division) drawing to a close this week. SA Cricket magazine’s ANITHA MADIKIZELA profiles five up-and-coming youngsters who have impressed over the past week.
1. Mohameed Taiwo – Nigeria
It’s hard to pick a star performer from the Nigerian team. The team works well as a unit and has an impressive bowling attack that steamrolled every team they faced during the tournament. Nigeria managed to bowl out all four teams they faced during the tournament while conceding a total of only 262 runs. Taiwo impressed with both bat and ball as he scored 99 runs at an average of 49.50 and picked up four wickets prior to Tuesday’s final against Sierra Leone. His performances in the qualifiers have earned him two Man of the Match awards as his team maintained their unbeaten record. The 16-year-old’s talents have already earned him a senior debut for Nigeria and he is definitely worth keeping an eye on in the final stages of the tournament, and beyond.
2. Frederico Carava – Mozambique
Carava starred with the ball and the young Mozambican bowler currently leads the wickets column, his 12 wickets coming at an astonishing strike rate of a wicket every 10.9 balls, along with a decent economy rate of 4.44 runs per over. Although Mozambique will be disappointed that they were defeated in the semi-finals by Sierra Leone, it wasn’t from a lack of trying from Carava, who picked up the tournament’s best bowling figures of 6.5-1-33-7 which earned him the Man of the Match award despite ending up on the losing side. Carava stood tall and rose to the occasion in a high-pressure match and, with character like that, there should be no limits to the young man’s potential.
3. Richmond Baaleri – Ghana
Ghana failed to make an impression against the big boys in the tournament, but excellent all-round performances from Richmond Baaleri earned him an entry on our list. His prowess with both bat and ball saw him score 101 runs at an average of 50.50 while picking up five wickets in his three matches. With the Ghanaians going home with a few questions to ponder after their team’s performances throughout the tournament, Baaleri proved to be a bright young talent who we should hear more from in future.
4. Aahil Jasani – Tanzania
The qualifiers were jam-packed with impressive young all-rounders and Tanzania’s Aahil Jasani was no exception. His performances helped his team finish second in Group A, but the team was unlucky to lose to Nigeria by 35 runs in the semis. Jasani was the standout player in the team, topping Tanzania’s runs and the wickets tallies. He scored 171 runs (57.00 average, S/R 74.02) and took seven wickets at an economy rate of just 2.50 runs per over, and these performances have certainly caught the eye of spectators and officials alike. Jasani is a leading contender for the Player of the Tournament award.
5. George Ngegba – Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone have been dominant throughout the qualifiers as they’ve destroyed all opposition that crossed their path. Whether fielding first and bowling teams out cheaply, or batting first and posting imposing targets, the strength of the team can easily be attributed to the main component of their bowling attack. As a unit, the bowlers all picked up wickets, with Ngegba at the forefront of the attack. He has bowled beautifully this week, picking up an impressive 11 wickets for just 63 runs – as well as sending down 16 maidens – to hold the tournament-best economy rate of 1.44 runs per over. Personally, I find nothing better than watching a well-oiled bowling attack in full flow, and with Ngegba alongside Sierra Leone’s other imposing bowlers, the boys from this small, west African nation will be the team to watch going into the final.
Photo: Cricket South Africa