• SA U19 ‘doing the simple things well’

    South Africa under-19s assistant coach Siya Sibiya has expressed his satisfaction with his batters following their execution of the simpler approach in the last match as the team prepares to face the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the final group stage match of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

    The second-placed SA U19s sit on two points, tied with the UAE but with a superior net run rate, and will have to defeat the side from the gulf region to seal a spot in the Super League, with Pakistan or Bangladesh the possible opponents in the next round.

    After overcoming the disappointment of the opening game defeat against Afghanistan, the Junior Proteas bounced back with a 150-run trouncing of Canada. That victory featured a stunning century from the captain, Bryce Parsons (121), and two half-centuries from Tyrese Karelse (60*) and Jonathan Bird (54) as they posted a massive 349/8.

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    This pleased batting coach, Sibiya, who says the psyche of the batsmen has certainly improved following their display at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom.

    ‘It has (improved), especially in the middle-order, where we felt that we haven’t been giving enough positive contributions to the runs,’ the coach began. ‘Everyone going out there, batting with good strike rates and just doing the simple things well.

    ‘Afghanistan was a formidable unit with those spinners in the middle periods and they can break you open but we recovered well. We had good conversations about doing things a little bit simpler, not worrying too much about everyone else and focusing on what we can do.’

    Following the eight wickets taken by the Afghan spinners, Shafiqullah Ghafari (6/15) and Noor Ahmed (2/44) against South Africa, Sibiya believes his batsmen will now deal better with the spin attack of the UAE.

    ‘We have been consistently tested for the last year in that department,’ Sibiya continued.  ‘We have played a lot of sub-continent sides and I feel that now we are in a good space with our fundamentals and the guys understand the game plans a bit clearer.’

    More rain is forecast in the northern and central parts of South Africa over the coming days, following the abandoned match between Afghanistan and Canada in Potchefstroom and the rain delays in the Group A clash between India and New Zealand.

    Sibiya emphasises the importance of always being mentally ready to play, regardless of the weather and the permutations it brings.

    ‘At the end of the day, you’ve got to psychologically be prepared to play a game of cricket,’ he said.

    ‘It (the possibility of not playing and still advancing to the quarterfinals) doesn’t take off any pressure and every game from now on, for us, after that first game, was always going to be a final in terms of having to win every game you play, to win the World Cup.

    ‘That’s the nature of the tournament, we are prepared, mentally focused and we know what’s required.’

    Photo: Gallo Images

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