Dubai, Mar 2: South Africa won its maiden ICC U19 Cricket World Cup title when they defeated two-time former champions Pakistan by six wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday (March 1).
Fast bowler Corbin Bosch saved his best performance in the tournament for the title match when he claimed four for 15, and wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin collected six catches behind the wickets as Pakistan was bundled out for 131 in 44.3 overs after electing to bat first.
South Africa captain Aiden Markram then held one end together as he scored an unbeaten 66 to guide his team home in 42.1 overs. Markram, who faced 125 balls and hit six fours, was well assisted by Greg Oldfield, who contributed 40 in a 71-runs partnership for the third wicket to help the side recover after South Africa was reduced to 28 for two.
Markram was declared player of the tournament for scoring 370 runs in the tournament, which saw him strike two centuries and one half-century.
Pakistan's decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired when it lost half its side before the 20th over. It soon slipped to 72 for seven in 29.1 overs before Zafar Gohar (22) and Amad Butt (37 not out) managed to take their side to 131.
This was the third lowest score in a 50-over final in the history of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. Pakistan had scored 109 in Colombo in 2006 but bounced back to dismiss India for 71. In 2008, South Africa scored 108 for eight after its target had been revised to 116 from 25 overs against India.
Pakistan was rocked by some inspired and quality bowling by South Africa's pace quartet of Kagiso Rabada, Ngazibini Sigwili, Justin Dill and Corbin Bosch, who consistently bowled in the corridor of uncertainty and forced the Pakistan batsmen into playing false strokes.
Sami Aslam (16), Imam-ul-Haq (12), Hasan Raza (15) and Kamran Ghulam (0) were all caught at the wicket by Fortuin, who later also accounted for Saifullah Khan (1) and Karamat Ali (1) to finish with six catches in the match.
It is the first time since Australia's Darren Barry in the inaugural event in 1988 that a wicketkeeper had taken six catches behind the wickets, though Sri Lanka's Charith Sylvester sits on the top of the tree when he dismissed eight batsmen behind the wickets (eight dismissals: four catches and four stumpings) in the 2002 tournament.
After Rabada provided the vital breakthrough when he dismissed Imam, Dill picked up the prized wickets of Sami and Hasan before Bosch ripped the heart out of Pakistan middle-order with some aggressive and accurate fast bowling.
Bosch, the 19-year-old from Durban, bowled to a teasing line and length to return match figures of 7.3-2-15-4. Bosch finished the tournament with nine wickets, while Rabada ended up with 14 wickets and Dill with 12 scalps.
Talking about his performance, Bosch said: "It was great to get out there and give my best performance in the final. I am so happy and to have played well for the boys and in the final is just great."
The next ICC U19 Cricket World Cup will be staged in Bangladesh in 2016.
Scores in brief
Pakistan 131 all out, 44.3 overs (Amad Butt 37 not out, Zafar Gohar 22; Corbin Bosch 4-15, Yaseen Valli 2-19, Justin Dill 2-29)
South Africa 134-4, 42.1 overs (Aiden Markram 66 not out, Greg Oldfield 40; Karamat Ali 2-24)
Man of the match - Corbin Borsch (South Africa)
Player of the tournament - Aiden Markram (South Africa)
1. South Africa
6. West Indies
12. United Arab Emirates
16. Papua New Guinea