A match-winning century from Priyam Garg was the difference as the SA U19s went down by 66 runs against India U19 in their first Youth One-Day International Quadrangular encounter in Chatsworth on Friday.
The win gives India an early lead in the four-team log standings thanks to a superior net run rate over the New Zealand U19s, who clinched a thrilling two-run victory over Zimbabwe at Kingsmead Stadium.
Indian captain Garg smashed a quicker than a run-a-ball 110 off 103 balls to help propel the subcontinent side to a menacing 264-5 in their 50 overs, before leading his team in restricting South Africa to 198-9 despite a valiant half-century from opposing captain Bryce Parsons.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, South Africa had their counterparts under pressure after dismissing their openers, Divyaansh Saxena (7) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (13), cheaply with Mondli Khumalo picking up both scalps.
Reeling at 29-2, Garg and Tilak Varma combined for a 91-run stand for the third wicket to stabilise the visitors’ innings, with the latter contributing a valuable 42 as he allowed his skipper to play a free-flowing knock before a vital breakthrough was initiated by Khumalo.
Although he lost his partner, Garg found another willing teammate in Dhruv Jurel. The pair put on another 104 runs for the fourth wicket, with Garg dispatching the majority of his nine fours and two sixes as they dominated the South African bowlers during the middle period.
Jurel recorded 65 off 74 balls (2 fours, 2 sixes) to help India take the lead in the tie at the Chatsworth Oval.
Khumalo ended the innings with his career Youth ODI best of 4-53.
In reply, the home side got off to a positive start before going on to lose the first wicket in the 13th over, Levert Manje bowled for 13. His fellow opener, Andrew Louw, then aptly teamed up with Jonathan Bird (22) for a 43-run partnership to take SA U19 to 83-1 before Louw fell five runs short of his half-century on 45 off 85 balls.
That wicket gave India the impetus with the ball, taking the next three wickets for 45 runs, including Bird, Luke Beaufort (7) and Khanya Cotani (13). Those inroads made by Shushant Mishra (4-48) and Kartik Tyagi (1-25) brought Parsons to the crease, with the left-hander faced with the task of rescuing his team from 128-5, chasing 265 for victory.
Leading from the front in a true captain’s knock, Parsons scored a 50-ball 57, including eight fours and one six. In the end, it was not enough, as his fellow middle-order batsmen were outplayed by spinners Ravi Bishnoi (2-29) and Tilak Varma (1-23).
The two turners removed Jack Lees (1), Pheko Moletsane (1) and Merrick Brett (0) before Mishra took the last wicket of South Africa’s innings – that of danger man Parsons – to leave the hosts nine down with 7.2 overs remaining and still needing 97 runs.
Achille Cloete (11*) and Khumalo (10*) showed determination at the crease to prevent their side being bowled out, but that just delayed the inevitable as India made their first mark in the Quadrangular.
In the other match, Nicholas Lidstone (56) and bowlers, David Hancock (3-32) and Jesse Tashkoff (3-45) inspired New Zealand to a narrow triumph over Zimbabwe after the Southern African outfit collapsed from 198-6 to 202 all out in pursuit of 205 for victory.
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