Christchurch: South Africa's batting display against New Zealand in the semi-final of the fifth-place play-off in the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup was starkly different from their corresponding fixture in Group A earlier in the tournament.
On that occasion, South Africa had only two batsmen making double-digits as they were bundled out for 208 in a 71-run loss. They have, evidently, learnt their lessons from that mauling.
Matthew Breetzke (115 off 122) and Raynard van Tonder (117 off 129) both scored centuries at the Hagley Oval on Saturday (27 January) as South Africa posted a daunting 284/6.
With Gerald Coetzee returning 5/32, New Zealand were bowled out for 211, their batsmen never fully recovering after an early implosion.
Dale Phillips's fighting 82-ball 74 turned out to be their only positive. South Africa's 73-run win means they will play either Bangladesh or England in the play-off for the fifth spot.
There were always signs that this was going to be a better batting display from South Africa. After opting to bat, Jiveshan Pillay swept Ben Lockrose – New Zealand surprisingly started with spin in overcast, windy conditions – to the fence.
Breetzke was looking good as well, and the two added a quick 42 for the opening wicket before Luke Georgeson got onto nip into Pillay, trapping the left-hand batsman plumb in front.
That was as good as it got for New Zealand for a while. Breetzkee and van Tonder went about resolutely defending thereafter, refusing to get drawn into anything too risky.
Occasionally, when the situation demanded it, they would find the fence. They largely consolidated till the 35th over, before attempting the big hits.
That gears had shifted came in the 38th over, when van Tonder picked 16 runs off a Felix Murray over, having picked him for six in the opening delivery. There was a boundary almost every over thereafter, as the two took South Africa past the 200-mark.
Their centuries came in consecutive overs, Breetzke the first to the mark. He holed out shortly thereafter, but van Tonder hung around till the penultimate over to further boost the total, even as all of Wandile Makwetu (9), Gerald Coetzee (2) and Jason Niemand (0) holed out attempting to accelerate.
New Zealand never looked likely to topple the chase, especially after losing a flurry of early wickets.
Jacob Bhula chased one down the leg side off Coetzee and was the first to fall, nicking it to the ‘keeper. Finn Allen (6) attempted to take Coetzee on, but top-edged a pull to the ‘keeper again. New Zealand were 16/2.
Rachin Ravindra and Kaylum Boshier, the captain, seemed to have partially rebuilt the innings, putting on 36 for the third wicket. However, two wickets in as many overs, reduced New Zealand to 55/4 – Ravindra (13) couldn't get enough behind a pull off Jason Niemand and holed out before Boshier (27) tried and failed to clear long on.