Tri-series preparation off to a good start for SA U19s

Stock image: Wandile Makwetu in action at the 2016 Coca-Cola Khaya Majola U19 Week.

Stock image: Wandile Makwetu in action at the 2016 Coca-Cola Khaya Majola U19 Week.

The Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s got their preparation for the 10-match Cricket South Africa (CSA) Youth Triangular Series off to a good start with a 216-run win over a University of Western Cape (UWC) Invitational XI in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The top order, led by opening batsman Wandile Makwetu came to the party when the U19s were asked to bat first. He hit a remarkable 110 runs from 111 deliveries (8 fours, 6 sixes), while his opening partner Matthew Breetzke, also had a good run, scoring 71 from 83. The pair put on 126 for the first wicket, giving their side a solid base to work from.

Number four batsman, Raynard van Tonder played an exciting innings, hitting two fours and eight entertaining sixes to reach 80 runs from 41 balls, while Jesse Christensen also made a notable 40 from 49 to help their side to a commanding 344/5 at the end of their 50 overs.

Makwetu was pleased with the manner in which the team has gelled in their first attempt and was particularly impressed with the efforts of the batsmen, who had their first true test in the middle. He said;

“It’s nice as a team to play our first game together and to get a win. We had a lot of good energy out on the field and all the boys are looking really good.

“It was a bit difficult to start off with batting wise. The tracks here are a lot slower than back at home (in the Highveld) so we had to graft a bit up front. It’s just really nice for the batsmen to spend some time out in the middle before we get stuck into the real tour.

“Getting a hundred today was nice relief. I have put in a lot of work and now the runs are starting to come for me so hopefully I can carry on with this form going into the tour.”

It was the first time that Makwetu and Breetzke had opened the batting together and he was satisfied that they complimented each other well.

“We had to get used to each other’s (batting) styles,” he continued. “He (Breetzke) takes a lot of pressure off me, he’s quite a free-flowing batsman and plays his shots so all I had to do was get myself off strike and let him do the business while I tried to work myself in. We communicated well and we laid out plans out quite early once we saw what the wicket was doing. I’m really hoping we can carry on in that vein in the tour.”

UWC’s reply was stifled by the spinners, who made the most impact on the day. Jade de Klerk was the pick of the bowlers, taking an outstanding three wickets for just two runs, while Ruan de Swardt (2/23) and Jason Niemand (2/35) claimed two wickets each. UWC were skittled out for 128 in 36.1 overs.

South Africa will play a double-header this weekend starting with the tournament opener against Zimbabwe on Saturday, 14 January, followed by the second match against Sri Lanka. Both matches will take place at the Wally Wilson Oval at the Western Province Cricket Club. Play for all matches starts at 09:30.


Coca-Cola South Africa under-19 squad

Wiaan Mulder (bizhub Highveld Lions), Matthew Breetzke (Warriors), Jesse Christensen (Buildnat Cape Cobras), Michael Cohan (Buildnat Cape Cobras), Jade de Klerk (Warriors), Ruan de Swardt (Multiply Titans), Siphamandla Kwreqe (Warriors), Wandile Makwetu (bizhub Highveld Lions), Mohammed Mayet (bizhub Highveld Lions), Akhona Mnyaka (Warriors), Jason Niemand (Waariors), Lutho Sipamla (Warriors), Keenan Smith (Warriors), Mitchell van Buuren (bizhub Highveld Lions), Raynard van Tonder (VKB Knights).

Lawrence Mahatlane (Head Coach), Wandile Gwavu (Assistant Coach), Henry Williams (Bowling Coach), Robin Peterson (Technical Consultant), Riaan Osman (Manager), Lizahn Naude (Physiotherapist), Sipokazi Sokanyile (Media Liaison), Hendrikus Coertzen (Performance Analyst).