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Junior Proteas implode against Bangladesh

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“We struggled against spin in the middle overs again. It has been a problem for us throughout. We wanted to keep wickets in hand, but unfortunately we lost wickets at regular intervals.”

South African cricket plunged deeper into the quagmire yesterday when the Junior Proteas slumped to mammoth 105-run defeat to Bangladesh in the ICC Under-19 World Cup quarter-final in Potchefstroom

Following the disappointment of the senior Proteas Men’s team in the recent series against England, the Under-19 team’s lacklustre performance in their quarter-final showed that the problems within the South African game runs deep.

Lawrence Mahatlane’s side were set a competitive 262 for victory, but it proved way too much as the host nation replied with a paltry 157. The national epidemic of succumbing to high-quality spin was once again exposed with Bangladesh left-arm spinner Rakibul Hasan routing the Junior Proteas with figures of 5/19.

Only No 4 Luke Beaufort offered any form of resistance with a solid 60 off 91 balls, but the strongly-built right-hander ultimately also succumbed to Rakibul.

“We lost it with the bat,” Junior Proteas captain Bryce Parsons said. “We struggled against spin in the middle overs again. It has been a problem for us throughout. We wanted to keep wickets in hand, but unfortunately we lost wickets at regular intervals.”

South Africa had started well through their pacemen Gerald Coetzee and Achille Cloete, but the Bangladeshi batsmen simply absorbed the pressure before cutting loose later on.

Although the South African bowlers were primarily economical, they did not possess the strike-power to get amongst the Bangladeshi batsmen to create any form of pressure.

In contrast, the Junior Proteas lost wickets at regular intervals and could not develop partnerships to give them a chance of hauling in the Bangladeshi total.

The loss of skipper Parsons, bowled by Rakibul for just seven, was a devastating blow for the South Africans as the captain had been their form batsmen of the tournament thus far.

Cricket South Africa’s acting Director of Cricket Graeme Smith will surely need to launch an investigation into the reasons behind the poor performances of this Junior Proteas side, who have now lost to Bangladesh and Afghanistan at the ICC Under-19 World Cup and have only managed to beat the likes of Canada and the United Arab Emirates.