Dean Foxcroft scored 117 from 137 balls to set up the South Afrca Under-19s’ 138-run victory over New Zealand in their last appearance at the 2016 instalment of the ICC U-19 World Cup at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on Friday. Foxcroft’s innings lasted a little over 44 overs, including 13 fours and a six. He arrived at the crease after South Africa had lost opener, Kyle Verreynne (0) to Christian Leopard four balls into the match, after the side was put in to bat first by the Junior Black Caps.
He shared valuable partnerships of 49 for the second wicket with Liam Smith (20), 45 for the third wicket with Wiaan Mulder (18) and the big partnership of 96 runs for the fifth wicket with Rivaldo Moonsamy. Foxcroft was not the only batsman to make a contribution, however, as Moonsamy burst into form, hitting 51 from 43 balls, while the youngest member of the team, 17-year-old Wandile Makwetu made up for his first-ball duck on debut against Namibia and smashed an unbeaten half-century from just 24 deliveries. Makwetu also shared an unbeaten, 58-run, seventh-wicket stand with Dayyaan Galiem (14* off nne) to see South Africa post 288/6 at the end of the innings, their highest total in the tournament.
The bowlers did an impressive job in stifling the New Zealand batting response. Mulder, who did not manage to score big today, made up for it by leading the attack, taking a superb 4/14 in 7.4 overs. Ziyaad Abrahams chipped in with two wickets, with Dayyaan Galiem, Willie Ludick and Sean Whitehead each adding a stick to their name.
Foxcroft is delighted with his performance and happy to help put his side in a winning position. He says: ‘After we lost Kyle (Verreynne), I think Liam (Smith) and I did well in getting an almost 50 partnership (49 from 48 balls) in a wicket that did so much in the morning. The wicket was moving around a lot and we had to be patient and take our time. That partnership with Liam built up confidence in me for the overs to come. I’m really happy with the batting performance of the team. Rivaldo (Moonsamy) and Wandile (Makwetu) played really nicely today and showed that if we stay patient and play our natural game, everything will fall in place. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t do this against Namibia and Zimbabwe, but I think it’s important to finish positively and keep learning our lessons.’
Makwetu was relieved to get an opportunity to finish the tournament positively, both for the team and himself after his first-ball-duck in his debut match. He says: ‘The platform was set for me when I came in. Dean Foxcroft batted really well, scoring a superb century. I went in after the fall of Rivaldo Moonsamy who had just scored 50 so the platform was there for me to express myself, so I took the opportunity today. Having gotten a first-ball-duck in my debut game, it was nice to get some runs.’
Coach Lawrence Mahatlane is happy with the win and hopes the side will take all the lessons learned home with them. Mahatlane says: ‘One of the toughest things for these youngsters has been to learn how to keep coming back after a disappointment and use those lessons to become better cricketers. I’ve really enjoyed watching how they have applied themselves in this match. I think Dean (Foxcroft) showed a lot of maturity in his game today with it not being easy to bat in the morning, it was something special to see. We’ve known how good these guys are since before we left home for the tournament, it’s just unfortunate that we haven’t put together performances like this consistently during the World Cup proper. To score a hundred in the first game of the World Cup and a hundred in the last, it would have been nice to have a couple in the middle matches to make sure that as a batting unit there’s a bit of confidence. I hope the guys go away from this tournament with understanding this game a bit better. Understanding that the more time you spend out there in the middle, the easier it becomes and a lot of batsmen showed that today.’