PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa, CMC – Lower order batsman Alick Athanaze struck a bold, unbeaten half-century to lift West Indies Under-19s to a crucial four-wicket win over South Africa Under-19s here Sunday and set up a thrilling end to the five-match series.
Chasing a modest 208 for victory in the fourth Youth One-Day International at City Oval, West Indies got home in the 45th over with Athanaze top-scoring with 66 not out. Bhaskar Yadram extended his good run of form with 65 while Matthew Patrick chipped in with 28 on debut. Sixteen-year-old off-spinner Kgaudisa Molefe claimed three for 51.
The hosts had earlier stumbled to 207 all out off 48.2 overs, after they were sent in, with opener Matthew Breetzke stroking 55, captain Raynard van Tonder, 38, and Hermann Rolfes, 37.
Nyeem Young, a 16-year-old pacer from Barbados, picked up three for 42 while Patrick ended with two for 26 with his off-breaks. The victory levelled the series at 2-2 with Wednesday’s fifth match in Durban now a virtual final.
South Africa were handed a great start when Breetzke anchored two successive half-century stands at the top of the order to propel his side up to 111 for one. He counted seven fours in an 83-ball knock, putting on 51 for the first wicket with Jiveshan Pillay (23) and 60 for the second with van Tonder who faced 44 deliveries and counted four boundaries.
Van Tonder’s run out in the 23rd over triggered a slump where six wickets tumbled for 22 runs to leave South Africa tottering on 133 for seven in the 35th over. Rolfes and Fraser Jones (24) then staged a rearguard action with 53 for the eighth wicket to bolster the innings late. Molefe than rocked the Young Windies, grabbing two early wickets as the visitors crashed to 59 for four in the 16th over.
But Athanaze came to his side’s rescue in an innings which required 80 deliveries and included nine fours and a six. More importantly, the Dominican put on 99 for the fifth wicket with Yadram who hit nine fours in his 75-ball knock. Molefe returned to get the breakthrough, trapping Yadram lbw in the 32nd over but Patrick held his nerve in a 45-run sixth wicket stand with Athanaze to put the Windies over the line.