South Africa U19 head coach Lawrence Mahatlane says the team is focused on executing their skills to play their best game as they prepare to take on Bangladesh in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Super League quarter-final in Potchefstroom on Thursday.
The battle for the third semi-final spot will take place at the JB Marks Oval.
Having had to win their final two group-stage matches to advance, after their opening defeat by Afghanistan, Mahatlane believes this clash will be no different with regard to the pressure and urges the team to remain focused on themselves.
‘It’s been crunch time since we lost our first game,’ the coach commented. ‘Every game has been a knockout game, so we have been in knockout mode and for me, it’s all about our processes.
‘It’s about making sure we play to our strengths and if we play our best game tomorrow, we should go through.’
During the round-robin phase of the World Cup, the SA U19s were beaten by seven wickets in their first match, before bouncing back to overpower Canada by 150 runs at the same venue where they meet Bangladesh. In that match captain Bryce Parsons dispatched 15 fours and three sixes to achieve his maiden century, scoring 121 off 91 balls to help his team to a handsome 349-8 before defending it comfortably.
Along with Parsons, opener Jonathan Bird (54) and Tyrese Karelse (60*) also contributed with the bat, and Mahatlane encourages his batsmen to continue in that vein of form as they strive to tame the young Tigers of Bangladesh.
‘The best opportunity to bat in one-day cricket is at the top of the order and these guys are getting in and cashing in,’ he continued.
‘I would like to see us scoring more hundreds, we’ve only scored one hundred in this tournament and I think that’s the difference between teams that go on to win and teams that don’t, with guys getting in and converting those scores, which is crucial.
‘The batters have always been a good group and they can be proud of what they’ve achieved and long may it continue.’
In addition to the batting performance, Mahatlane also spoke about the team’s bowling performances, stating that injuries have played a part in the team’s bowling attack before confirming that the side is now back to full strength.
This also includes all-rounder Gerald Coetzee, who is available for selection following a toe injury.
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