“Skills execution” will be key to Youth Tri-series final victory says Gwavu

Coca-Cola SA under-19s assistant coach, Wandile Gwavu.

Coca-Cola SA under-19s assistant coach, Wandile Gwavu.

Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s assistant coach, Wandile Gwavu hopes to see better skills execution from the team when they face England in the final of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Youth One-Day International Triangular Series at Senwes Park on Sunday. The match will be another day/night fixture and the coach wants to see a stronger fight from his charges during the high pressure situations.

England have emphatically won both of their encounters against the hosts, their first match by 112 runs and the second by another convincing, eight-wicket margin. When asked what the main differences have been between the sides, Gwavu said:

“I’ll put it down to skills execution. We’ve done a lot of things right, but during the pressure times I don’t think we’ve executed our skills well enough. England have played their best cricket and we have not so far and I’m sure that if we play at even seventy percent of our best cricket that we’ll come out the winners.”

The coach believes that with a two-nil lead on the home side, majority of the pressure will be on England tomorrow to win as they will be the favourites going into the final. This is when he hopes that his side will play to their potential.

“I always say that finals and semi-finals are different breeds of games,” he continued. “Walking into a final, knowing that you’re on top will make that team (England) a little more worried because they won’t know what to expect from the opposition. We are in a better position because people can call us the underdogs and we’re comfortable with that. South Africans are known for their dog fight and for their ‘bounce-back-ability’.”

When asked about some of the positives that he could take out from the tour in as a whole, Gwavu quickly mentioned Matthew Breetzke, who is the leading run scorer for the South African team with 204 runs, hitting back-to-back fifties and a century in all of the matches he has played in the series so far.

“I know that our team is not a one man team, but we have to mention him because he has been consistent with his runs. He’s worked very hard to get to this point and has focussed particularly on his consistency and it’s really good to see that he’s starting to reap the rewards of all that work. The rest of the batting unit have taken on that mentality in our practices and have been positive and I hope that we will see them take what we’ve seen in the nets onto the middle when we play England tomorrow.

“In terms of the other skills, the bowling and fielding, yes we haven’t been at our best, we’ve got a young bowling uint, but they learn each and every time they step onto the field and I’m sure that it will come off soon for us. They have impressed us a lot with their ability to absorb lessons quickly and to set the tone up front. They are an extremely talented group.”

All in all, the aspiring baby Proteas have won two out of their four group matches in this series, both with a bonus point against Namibia and Gwavu believes that they are headed in the right direction with regards to building blocks towards the final.

“It’s been a long tour for these guys, but I think there are a lot of positives that have come out of the tour so far,” he went on. “I know that everybody has been looking at the two games that we have lost against England but the one thing I’ve enjoyed about the camp is that there’s been no panic. Going into the last match, we’ve refocussed and had our last practice and what I like is the hunger that I’ve seen in the players and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s game.

“I’m expecting to see a lot of fight, we are the home team after all and as the visiting team, we should not make England too comfortable here. We want to see our boys take the fight to them and like I said earlier, skill execution is going to be a very important part of that.”

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