ICC U19 World Cup 2024: Steve Stolk’s Record Fifty Leads South Africa to Seven-Wicket Victory Over Scotland

Steve Stolk of South Africa in action (Credit: ICC Media)

Steve Stolk of South Africa in action (Credit: ICC Media)

South Africa finished top of the group with the win and, alongside West Indies and England, made it to the Super Six phase from Group B.

At JB Marks Oval, Jamie Dunk and Owen Gould produced two outstanding knocks to give Scotland a strong total against hosts, South Africa.

Opting to bowl, South Africa were disciplined with the ball but failed to strike with the new ball as the Scotland openers adopted a watchful approach.

Adi Hegde eventually fell to Riley Norton, but Dunk stepped up with his stroke-making to quicken the scoring rate. Alec Price fell for 18, but Dunk found the support he needed from Gould.

The two put on a century stand to drive Scotland to a dominant position. The scoring rate they went at put pressure on South Africa as they failed to produce the breakthrough. Dunk had scored into the nineties when Norton returned to clean up the Scotland opener with one that nipped back.

Uzair Ahmed walked in and belted successive sixes and a four in the next over to ease the nerves in the Scotland camp. But his eight-ball 23 cameo ended when Norton had him caught in the deep.

Gould went for his shots to race to 97 but was eventually dismissed in the final over by Kwena Maphaka before he could reach the three-figure mark. Scotland finished with 269, a total that would have had South Africa biting their nails at the innings break.

But any tension was soon eased when Steve Stolk went into carnage mode. The South African opener was merciless in his onslaught, beginning his innings with three fours in the opening over off Qasim Khan.

He went on to bludgeon Qasim for five sixes and a four in his next over to raise a stunning 13-ball half-century in just the third over of the game.

Scotland struggled to pull things back despite bowling changes as Stolk smashed everything that came his way. Gould was hit for two sixes and a four in the seventh over and by the time Nikhil Koteeshwaran broke the opening stand with the wicket of Lhuan-dre Pretorius, Stolk was already in the seventies and the team total on 114.

Koteeshwaran’s medium pace made another vital breakthrough the next over, when Stolk missed a stroke to the leg-side to be trapped in front for a 37-ball 86, one of the best knocks of the tournament so far.

Hegde had Tristan Luus stumped for 14 as Scotland sensed a comeback in the contest. Despite the required run-rate becoming almost irrelevant after Stolk’s breathtaking assault, Scotland had South Africa three down with more than 100 runs still required.

But any hope of Scotland returning to get a grip on the game was thwarted by Dewan Marais going gung-ho to counter the Scotland bowlers. The in-form batter, moved up to No.5 after two impressive hits, teamed up with David Teeger in a century stand that came off less than 80 balls.

Marais brought up his half-century off 40 balls and then in the next 10 balls raced to 80. Teeger finished unbeaten on 43 off 38 balls and South Africa had aced the run-chase in merely 27 overs, going at over 10 runs an over.

South Africa finished top of the group with the win and, alongside West Indies and England, made it to the Super Six phase from Group B.

Steve Stolk was modest about his exceptional knock and acknowledged that it was an amazing team effort.

“I just kept on hitting it. Lhuan-dre [Pretorius] kept pushing me to keep going. He keeps me pumped up. Getting to a fifty in 13 balls was quite unreal, it was special. The whole team came together this game. It was a great team effort.”

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