Australia became the first team to make it to the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup courtesy a four-wicket win over South Africa at Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville on Tuesday. This was a win fashioned in the field when the host’s battery of pace bowlers kept South Africa on a leash, and in pursuit of 192 the opener Cameron Bancroft anchored the chase with a dogged 66.
William Bosisto’s decision to field was vindicated early when right-arm fast bowler Mark Steketee and Joel Paris combined to leave South Africa at 4 for 2. Theunis de Bruyn (16) was the third wicket to fall, caught behind by Gurinder Sandhu. South Africa found partnerships hard to come by and only the captain Chad Bowes (46) and Murray Coetzee (50) were able to contribute sizeable scores. That there were only nine fours and two sixes in the South African innings was indicative of how well the Australians bowled. If not for a late-order unbeaten 30 from Prenelan Subrayen, South Africa could have folded for less than 191. Steketee (3 for 35) and Sandhu (2 for 23) were the most successful bowlers.
Australia’s chase was rocked early in the piece. Lizaad Williams extracted Jimmy Peirson first ball and Corne Dry bowled Meyrick Buchanan for 0 to leave the hosts at 3 for 2 in two overs. But Bancroft – who two innings ago scored 125 against Nepal – and Kurtis Patterson steadied the innings with a 95-run stand. The pair ran well between the wickets and hit boundaries to keep the asking rate in control, and chipped away at the target.
One run short of a half-century, Patterson was adjudged caught behind off Williams, but Bancroft found able support from Bosisto and the pair added 75. Even a middle-order flutter, as Bancroft was run out for 66 and Travis Head bowled for a duck by Williams, was not enough to prevent Australia crossing the finish line. Bosisto was run out for 40 just four runs shy of victory - the first time in the World Cup that he was dismissed - but the end came soon after as Ashton Turner hit the winning runs with a slap over mid-off for four in the penultimate over.
Australia will meet the winner of the India versus New Zealand semi-final in Thursday.
Brief scores: Australia 193 for 6 in 48.3 overs (Cameron Bancroft 66, Kurtis Patterson 49, William Bosisto 40; Lizaad Williams 3/40) beat South Africa 191 for 8 in 50 overs (Murray Coetzee 50, Chad Bowes 46; Mark Steketee 3/35, Gurinder Sandhu 2/23) by four wickets