Bhaskar Yadram’s 3-37 handed West Indies a narrow victory by two runs over South Africa U19 to seal the series 3-2 on Wednesday.
Coming into the match with the series at 2-2, the hosts won the toss, and asked West Indies to bat in the series decider at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban.
The initial breakthrough was not forthcoming, as the Windies opening pair of Keagan Simmons and Joshua Persuad took the shine off the new ball.
Persuad was on the verge of a half-century before Jade de Klerk had him caught for 46 to end the 83-run opening stand.
Simmons continued to bide his time, as he and Yadram led their side into three figures. Despite the loss of Yadram and Emmanuel Stewart in quick succession, the left-hander brought up a patient fifty off 101 balls with a sweep for four off Thando Ntini.
Simmons and Alick Athanaze rebuilt the innings superbly, guiding their side past 200. The pair looked set to bat through the remaining overs, occupying the crease until the 48th over.
It was not to be, however, as Ntini effected the breakthrough yet again by bowling Athanaze for 40 for his second scalp of the day. Simmons pushed on though, and carried his bat in an innings of 107 that included 14 boundaries to help the Windies reach a competitive 244-5.
South Africa made an ideal start to their reply. Matthew Breetzke and Jiveshan Pillay got the scoreboard ticking over nicely, reaching 100 in the 19th over. Breetzke was the first to raise his bat, scoring fifty off 63 balls.
West Indies were finally rewarded for their efforts when Jeavor Royal had Pillay caught behind for 44 to bring the 112-run opening stand to an end.
Gerald Coetzee proved an able partner to Breetzke and validated his promotion up the order by seeing his side to 150. Coetzee’s cameo of 33 was ended when Royal had him caught behind in the 39th over. Nevertheless, Breetzke pressed on to see his team into the 200s.
The opener brought up a well-deserved century with a boundary off Yadram before the bowler exacted revenge the very next ball, dismissing Breetzke to leave the hosts on 206-3 in the 44th over.
Yadram struck again only one ball later to send Wandile Makwetu back to the hut without scoring. When Jesse Christensen was sent packing for 17, Yadram had single-handedly brought the visitors back into the contest.
A valuable 18-run partnership between Hermann Roles (21) and Raynard van Tonder left the hosts within sight of victory, requiring 13 runs with 12 balls remaining. Rolfes’ innings came to an unfortunate end when he was run out at the start of the penultimate over.
Van Tonder and Kenan Smith kept the hosts in touch by scraping together five runs from the over. Van Tonder’s dismissal off the final ball of the over left the hosts in need of a last over dash as the equation now read eight runs off six balls.
Yadram was tasked with bowling the final over, looking to put the finishing touches on a superb display of seam bowling.
Curtis Campher and Smith did well to reduce the equation to three runs off the final two balls. It was not to be for the hosts, however, as Yadram proved a thorn in South Africa’s side once more. He ended with a pair of dots to complete a thrilling end to the extremely close series.