Cricket 14.1.2018 09:53 am

National U-19 skipper Van Tonder stars … sore finger and all

Raynard van Tonder played an outstanding innings for the national U-19 side. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Raynard van Tonder played an outstanding innings for the national U-19 side. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

The enthusiastic Kenyans try to keep a lid on things but are undermined by a brilliant innings as SA kick off their World Cup campaign well.

Raynard van Tonder (143) put on a masterclass in one-day batting as South Africa ran out 169-run winners over Kenya in their ICC Under-19 Pool A World Cup match in Christchurch on Sunday.

More impressively, the dynamic skipper is currently playing with an injured finger.

South Africa reached 341/7  and Kenya responded with 172/7  in their turn at the crease.

Having lost the toss, Kenya started well in the field.

Every dot, whether it was a faultless block or a swish and miss was greeted with cheers of encouragement, and they got their reward when Matthew Breetzke fell for 7 in the third over.

But the pressure dissipated at the arrival of South African captain van Tonder, who raced to 32 off 19 balls, taking advantage especially of anything short, and pulling to whichever part of the legside boundary he fancied.

He received able support from opener Jiveshan Pillay, whose 62 contained some lovely strokes, but once he fell it was largely a one-man show.

What stood out most was the pacing of the innings, as van Tonder capitalised on the first 10-over powerplay, rotated the strike in the middle overs, and exploded towards the back end.

It was not a chanceless innings – Van Tonder was dropped on 62, and was reprieved by a waist-high no-ball after being caught on the square leg boundary when well past his hundred – but today he earned his luck.

Two sixes immediately preceding that no-ball reprieve will live long in the memory, smashed over long on with back leg in the air, the second tracing the first’s path.

But the shot of the innings didn’t belong to him; it was either Jade de Klerk’s, whose extra cover loft wowed the purists, or Gerald Coetzee’s, whose straight hit cleared the fences and necessitated a replacement ball.

He made 36 off 14 balls, with the pair’s eighth-wicket partnership of 65 in five overs giving South Africa the late flourish they desired.

Kenya bowled with heart and no little skill, and though there were a few balls dropped, their heads never did.

The game felt over as a contest at the halfway stage, and a fine spell from South Africa’s opening bowlers confirmed the feeling, though numerous dropped catches behind the wicket meant they didn’t get their full rewards.

Thando Ntini extracted good bounce and Gerald Coetzee bowled with good pace, striking Kenya opener Aman Ghandi on the helmet and forcing him to retire hurt.

There were starts for four of Kenya’s top six, but all fell before reaching 20, and at 98/6 it appeared an early finish might be on the cards.

It took some grit to bat the full 50 overs even with the game gone.

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