South Africa U19 secured an 18-run win over the West Indies in the first Youth ODI in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Sunday.
The visitors take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series as they ramp up preparations for the U19 World Cup in the West Indies.
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first in unfavourable batting conditions, SA U19 were bowled out for 146 after 34.2 overs before a remarkable fightback from captain George van Heerden’s team saw the home side skittled for 128.
Despite a positive start thanks to a 56-run opening stand from Jade Smith (34) and Ethan Cunningham (30), SA U19 soon found themselves in trouble on 101-5, with West Indian fast bowler Anderson Mahase (4-33) wreaking havoc.
The visitors were eventually dismissed before reaching the 150-run mark, with spinner Onaje Amory picking up three wickets to put the hosts in a commanding position.
SA U19 made a bright start with ball in hand, picking up two early wickets through Liam Alder (1-40) and Kwena Maphaka (1-13) to leave their opponents on 20-2 after 7.4 overs.
The momentum shifted once again, this time in the favour of the home team, as two half-century partnerships, starring skipper Ackeem Auguste (27) and top-scorer Giovante Depeiza (39), guided the West Indies to 121-4 with more than 28 overs remaining.
With SA U19 staring down the barrel, a combination of fielding brilliance and wickets from Dewald Brevis (3-36) and Andile Simelane (2-5) helped them take six wickets for just seven runs as the islanders collapsed to 128 all out after 34.3 overs.
“In true South African spirit, there was nothing fancy to this win. It was just a dog fight, and I am helluva proud of the boys,” said SA U19 head coach Shukri Conrad.
“It has been a tough week for us, travelling around the world, being given all the [Covid-19] protocols, etc. It’s a fantastic win for the boys and, hopefully, this not only sets up the tour well but for the next month and a bit we are in the Caribbean.”
The second Youth ODI is on Tuesday.