• SA U19 showing signs of improvement – Montgomery

    South Africa U19 captain Matthew Montgomery believes his side have adapted to the challenging Indian conditions ahead of their Youth ODI encounter against their Afghanistan counterparts in Trivandrum on Saturday.

    In their narrow single-run defeat to India U19 ‘B’, South Africa put on a much-improved display with both bat and ball. Siya Plaatjie starred with figures of 3-40 in his 9.1 overs, while Andile Mogakane took home the Player of the Match accolade for his 64 off 63 balls (5×4, 2×6).

    Ruan Terblanche also contributed an anchoring 73-run knock, batting more than 40 overs before the tourists fell short of their 199-run target.

    ‘We are definitely learning,’ Montgomery insisted on Friday. ‘It can be seen with our bowling performance in the match. The bowlers adjusted to the slowness of the wicket and we managed to put them under some pressure, which wasn’t happening in the past game. From a batting point of view, you look at the way a guy like Ruan batted for pretty much the whole innings, and Andile coming in and giving us a bit of a burst of energy there at the end.

    ‘It just shows that they have adapted, and hopefully that continues to happen for the rest of the tour.’

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    Afghanistan have had similar results to the South Africans, going down by seven wickets and 92 runs respectively to the India U19 ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides. However, the visiting captain isn’t buying too much into those outcomes, maintaining that his team will have to be at their best and use the knowledge gained on tour thus far.

    ‘Afghanistan is a totally new game,’ the skipper continued. ‘We can’t underestimate them in any way. They have had some decent performances against the Indian sides so far in this tournament, so we will have to have our wits about us.

    ‘We want to continue learning from our past experiences on this tour and put on our best performance yet.’

    After conceding two defeats in their opening matches of the quadrangular series, the young South Africans will be looking to end the trip to the subcontinent on a positive note with a triumph over Afghanistan, who they are also likely face in the third-place playoff on Monday 11 March.

    Photo: Cricket South Africa/Twitter

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    Simon Lewis