Benoni: It may turn out to be a direct clash between India's batting might and South Africa's strength in bowling when the defending champions take on the hosts in the first semifinal of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 here on Tuesday.
After 38 matches and 16 days since the start of the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup 2024, four teams now remain in contention for the coveted title.
India have been a force throughout the tournament so far, not only winning each of their five matches but also dominating their opponents with three of their wins coming by a margin of over 200 runs.
India have found consistent contributors both with the bat and ball, but it is their batting prowess that has stood out in the tournament. Remarkably, four players have notched up five centuries to date for India in the tournament with Musheer Khan hitting two 100-plus scores. The others who hit centuries for India U19 in this tournament are Sachin Dhas, skipper Uday Sharan and Arshin Kulkarni.
However, they might not have faced a bowling attack of South Africa's calibre yet, which is spearheaded by the tournament's top wicket-taker, Kwena Maphaka. The left-arm pacer has effortlessly dismantled opposing batting lineups, claiming three five-wicket hauls along the way. India will, however, take confidence from the fact that they successfully negated him in the tri-series preceding the U19 Men’s CWC.
The Prteas' opening batters, Steve Stolk and Lhuan-dre Pretorius, have showcased exceptional form, leading the charge for South Africa.
South Africa have only stumbled once in the tournament – against England in the group stages.
But the hosts have momentum on their side with dominant victories thereafter – among their highlights has been their explosive chase of 273 runs for victory in 27 overs against Scotland to secure the top spot in the group stages. (IANS)