Potchefstroom — SA set up a mouth-watering knockout contest with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Bloemfontein on Saturday after beating Canada by a handsome 150 runs in their ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup match at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.
The winner of that game will most probably go on to meet India in the Super League play-off stage‚ but the important part for SA was putting together a coherent performance after being embarrassed by Afghanistan in Kimberley a few days ago.
That said‚ SA put their Kimberley gremlins behind them when captain Bryce Parsons was the catalyst behind their 349/8 in 50 overs after losing the toss.
Parsons‚ whose wicket fast-tracked the collapse in the opening game‚ converted his start into a wonderful 91-ball 121. He came in at 22/1 after Andrew Louw (six) missed a straight Rishiv Joshi (2/59) delivery.
Jonathan Bird (54) and Parsons combined for a six-over‚ 64-run stand for the second wicket that wrested the initiative from the visitors.
When Bird gifted a catch to Raqib Shamsudeen off Ayush Verma (2/69)‚ he dragged himself off the square. He knew full well he failed to cash in on a start.
Parsons was not that generous and knew his team’s hopes of caning Canada rested with him going big. And he did, as his 50 came off 35 balls while he knocked his 100 off just 79 balls.
When he and Bird were together as left-handers‚ the stroke play that targeted the longer offside boundary was attractive with sixes hit towards the shorter leg-side boundary.
When Parsons departed‚ the score was 229/4 in 37 overs and with Luke Beaufort again not capitalising on a start when he fell with the score on 179‚ the danger of SA’s middle-order failing again was real.
South-Western Districts product Tyrese Karelse (60*) had other ideas. He didn’t get pad-rash when Parsons and Beaufort put together 93 for the third wicket and was content to let Parsons lead the march to 350 during their 50-run‚ fourth wicket stand.
The southpaw then took over with deft placement and seven well-timed boundaries. That allowed Tiaan van Vuuren (29 off 18)‚ Jack Lees (13 off 10) and Khanya Cotani (22 off 12) to bat with freedom while Akhil Kumar (4/56) bowled well for the visitors.
With a hefty target‚ SA got away with wayward bowling and fielding. Mihir Patel (26) was dropped first ball by Bird at slip off Achille Cloete (2/36) and the lengths were not being located well.
Scoreboard pressure got the better of Canada though when Randhir Sandhu (seven) picked out Parsons at extra cover off Cloete.
Merrick Brett (2/32) ‚ who replaced the injured Gerald Coetzee‚ dropped Patel off his own bowling off his first ball‚ but claimed him caught behind two balls later.
Patel’s wicket put the skids on Canada’s fast start and they raced to 40/1 in five overs. After 10 overs‚ they were 69/2 and keeping up with the required run-rate.
Lees (2/39) and Parsons (1/36) tightened the screws with economical spin in their 20 overs, but when the Cotani/Brett combination removed Kumar (17)‚ there was no way back for the visitors.
Parsons had his opposite, Ashtan Deosammy (one), caught behind while Van Vuuren removed Shamsudeen (nine) and Joshi (10).
Ben Calitz (62*) waged a lone war with a 65-ball 50‚ but in the hot North-West Province sun it was like a mirage in the desert.