MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand – Defending Under-19 champions West Indies ended their ICC Youth World Cup title dreams in controversy while suffering a heavy 76-run defeat to South Africa Under-19s in Mount Maunganui today.
Asked to chase 283 at the Bay Oval, the young Caribbean side collapsed from 177 for four in the 39th over to 206 all out in the 46th, to crash to their second straight defeat following their loss to hosts New Zealand Under-19s in their opener last Saturday. Both South Africa and New Zealand are on four points and will advance to the next round. The defeat left the reigning champions third in Group A without a point and eliminating them from reaching the second round. They play Kenya next in an academic fixture.
Alick Athanaze top-scored for West Indies with 76 and Kirstan Kallicharan chimed in with 44 but fast bowler Hermann Rolfes rocked the Windies with four for 33 to put South Africa in command.
To complicate matters, captain Emmanuel Stewart sparked a firestorm in the cricketing world during the South Africa innings when he appealed for an obstructing the field dismissal and had batsman Jiveshan Pillay controversially given out.
The left-handed Pillay had effortlessly cruised to 47 off 51 deliveries when he inside-edged a drive at fast bowler Jarion Hoyte and then watched carefully as the ball rolled to a stop next to his stumps.
However, he subsequently picked up the ball and tossed it to Stewart who then appealed and after umpires consulted, Pillay was given out for obstruction under Law 37.4.
Stewart’s actions drew heavy criticism from past and current players, reminiscent of the Mankad incident during the last Under-19 World Cup when West Indies also found themselves at the centre of controversy. But Stewart’s action drew even greater ire as Pillay was not trying to gain any advantage but had merely undertaken a sportsmanly act.
South African senior team captain Faf du Plessis later tweeted that he had done what Pillay had more than 100 times. Former Test cricketer Mark Boucher tweeted: “Disgusting! Once again WI junior team involved in a matter that goes against the spirit of the game. Law or not, I’ve seen @ABdeVilliers17, @stevesmith49 and @imVkohli pass ball back to fielder. Follow their example youngsters! Play hard but play fair within spirit of game!”
After the game, Stewart offered the explanation that the umpires had asked him if he had requested Pillay to throw the ball to him and he responded in the negative.
“We had the choice to ask the question, which we did so. He was given out within the laws of the game. On reflection, I thought our appeal wasn’t in the spirit of the game. Moving forward, if I’m in such a situation, I’d withdraw the decision to go upstairs [to the third umpire]. My team-mates share the same sentiments.
“I appealed, not with the intention of going upstairs. There were a couple of appeals on the field and the umpires heard it, so they decided to have a look at it,” Stewart said.
The contentious decision also soured the contest and detracted from South Africa’s innings, highlighted by a superb, run-a-ball unbeaten 99 from wicketkeeper Wandile Makwetu.
Gerald Coetzee chipped in with 29 and Kenan Smith, 22, as the South Africans got up to a challenging 282 for eight off their 50 overs after they were sent in.
Pillay, who struck five fours and two sixes, put on 56 off 64 balls for the first wicket with Matthew Breetzke (18) before five wickets tumbled for 56 runs to leave the young Proteas tottering on 112 for five in the 27th over.
The right-handed Makwetu, batting at number five, then stitched up the innings in a 58-run for the sixth wicket with Smith before adding a further 31 for the seventh wicket with Jade de Klerk who made a cameo 21 from 16 balls.
However, it was Makwetu’s 67-run, eighth wicket stand with Coetzee which provided the late momentum as South Africa gathered a whopping 77 runs from the last five overs.
Makwetu struck 12 fours and a six and combined with Coetzee to plunder 27 from the final over sent down by fast bowler Ronaldo Alimohamed.
In reply, West Indies were given a sound start by openers Kimani Melius (24) and Keagan Simmons (20) who put on 38 off 42 deliveries for the first wicket.
Once the left-handed Simmons was given out caught behind down the leg-side off seamer Coetzee (2-21), however, the Windies lost four wickets for 49 runs to decline to 87 for four at the end of the 21st over.
Stewart was bowled for two in the 12th over needlessly giving Rolfes the charge, Melius nicked a push at left-arm pacer Akhona Mnyaka and was caught behind while Bhaskar Yadram (13) was also caught at the wicket by Makwetu, cutting at left-arm spinner de Klerk (2-40).
With West Indies stuttering, the left-handed Athanaze combined with Kallicharan in a 90-run, fifth wicket stand which put the South Africans under pressure.
Athanaze faced 100 balls and counted six fours and a six while Kallicharan stroked five fours and a six in a handsome 50-ball knock.
Rolfes proved the trump card in the end, returning to trap Kallicharan lbw in the 39th over, triggering a dramatic slide which saw the last six wickets perish for 29 runs.
Athanaze was ninth out in the 45th over, smashing a return catch back to the enterprising Rolfes.