All-round SA pip Pakistan to maiden title triumph

DUBAI: South Africa finally broke their Under-19 World Cup jinx by beating crowd favourites Pakistan by six wickets in a predominantly one-sided final in Dubai. It had been a bowler’s tournament all the way through and the final lived up to that billing as South Africa’s seamers, led by Corbin Bosch, bundled out Pakistan for a paltry 131.

Opener and captain Aiden Markram hit an unbeaten 66 and Greg Oldfield 40 as they reached their modest target of 132 with 7.5 overs to spare..

Pakistan were all out for 131 from 44.3 overs, Amad Butt top-scoring with an unbeaten 37 at number nine while South Africa seamer Corbin Bosch took 4-15.

Pakistan was relying heavily on openers Sami Aslam and Imam ul Haq to replicate their supreme batting form in the final. But the duo fell early today, triggering a familiar collapse.

At one stage, Pakistan were 72/6, but Amad Butt (37) and Zafar Gohar (22), who had helped Pakistan reach the final, put up some fight in the middle overs to give some respectability to the total.

It is the first time since the Under-19s World Cup began in 1988 that South Africa have lifted the trophy.

Markram hit six fours in his match-winning innings and shared a 71-run third-wicket partnership with Oldfield that effectively secured the victory.

England, beaten by Pakistan in a dramatic semi-final, finished third in the tournament by beating Australia by one wicket with two balls remaining.

Australia and India have won the competition three times and Pakistan twice, with England’s sole victory coming in 1998 from a side containing future Test players Graeme Swann, Rob Key, Owais Shah and Chris Schofield.

BRIEF SCORE:

SA U-19s 134 for 4 (Markram 66*, Oldfield 40) beat Pakistan U-19s 131 (Butt 37*, Bosch 4-15, Valli 2-19) by six wickets.