New Zealand have continued their unbeaten run at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 after a 71 run win against South Africa at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
Rachin Ravindra delivered a man-of-the-match performance, with a top score of 76 with the bat, before picking up 4-32 with the ball and a run out to help his side enter the knockout stages as one of the form teams of the tournament.
Captain Kaylum Boshier won the toss and decided to bat first, giving another opportunity for in-form openers Ravindra and Jakob Bhula to pile up the runs.
The pair laid the platform with another 100 run partnership, with Ravindra bringing up his second score over fifty in the space of four days. New Zealand had 108 runs on the board when Bhula departed for 44 at the end of the 20th over.
Finn Allen came to the crease and took on the South African attack with a quick-fire 27 before his run out saw the beginning of a mini batting collapse.
New Zealand were well placed at 144-1 but the loss of five wickets for 30 runs, including the key scalp of Ravindra for 76 off 89 deliveries, left the home side in a tricky position at 174-6 in the 35th over.
Dale Phillips and Max Chu got New Zealand back on track, however, with a 77 run partnership ensuring a competitive total of 279-8 was set.
Phillips took the confidence he built with the bat into the field, with a brilliant diving catch at cover off Matthew Fisher’s fourth ball to remove Jiveshan Pillay for a duck.
Fisher had a second wicket moments later, after another sharp bit of fielding from Felix Murray saw South African captain Raynard van Tonder on his way back to the pavilion and the visitors in trouble at 7-2.
New Zealand’s spin trio of Ravindra, Ben Lockrose and Murray went about their work and reduced South Africa to a modest run rate in pursuit of 280.
Ravindra broke a key partnership when South Africa were 55-2 with a beautiful delivery clipping Matthew Breetzke’s off stump, before drawing Wandile Makwetu into a loose drive that came straight back to the bowler.
New Zealand looked to be in control with South Africa 76-4, but an impressive century from Hermann Rolfes swung the momentum again.
The game looked to be heading the distance, only for Lockrose to be rewarded for his tight bowling with the big wicket of Rolfes for 108. It proved to be the turning point as New Zealand took South Africa’s last six wickets for just 26 runs to restrict them to 208 all out and wrap up the victory.
New Zealand will face Afghanistan on Thursday for a spot in the semi finals.
NZ U19 squad
Kaylum Boshier (Central Districts) - Captain
Finn Allen (Auckland)
Jakob Bhula (Wellington)
Max Chu (Otago)
Katene Clarke (Northern Districts)
Matthew Fisher (Northern Districts)
Luke Georgeson (Wellington)
Ben Lockrose (Otago)
Callum McLachlan (Wellington)
Felix Murray (Central Districts)
Sandeep Patel (Northern Districts)
Dale Phillips (Auckland)
Rachin Ravindra (Wellington)
Connor Sullivan (Canterbury)
Todd Watson (Central Districts)