The quarter final encounter between Sri Lanka and South Africa was a one sided game to state the least. Put into bat under cloud cover the Sri Lankans proved to be far superior to their opponents. Bhanuka Rajapaksa won his second man of the match award in the World Cup championship in New Zealand today. The young left hander scored 79 off 78 deliveries with 10 scintillating boundaries to help his team score a defendable total of 293 for 8 wickets in their allotted 50 overs.
Bhanuka and Romesh Buddika set up a 91 run partnership for the 3rd wicket. The Proteas stuck two big blows through seam bowler Jerry Nqolo, when both left handers looked comfortable against the South African bowlers. Nqolo caught and bowled Rajapaksa with a full length delivery, and followed up his success by dismissing Buddika caught and bowled off a full toss in the very next over.
Sri Lanka proved to be a strong batting line up when Kithruwan Vithanage, Akshu Fernando and MD Gunathileke got among the runs by controlling the middle order batting with sensible shot selections. Vithanage made 45 in 50 balls while Akshu Fernando supported him with a valuable 28. Gunathileke was exceptional in the depth overs. Sri Lanka made 94 runs in the last ten overs, despite losing 3 wickets for 47 runs during the batting power play taken between the 43rd and 47th over.
South Africa had many opportunities to restrict the free scoring Sri Lankans. The ground fielding by South Africa was exceptional, however their catching was appalling. The top fielding unit missed as many as 5 catches. Credit to the Sri Lankans, they batted well to record the highest score of 293 at Lincoln, which incidentally will host the semi finals and the finals
South Africa who chased 276 against Australia were undone by a classy seam attack led by Charith Jayampathi who had 4 scalps for 31 runs in 8 overs. Charith should have had two more in the wickets column, but was unfortunate, due to regulation catches being put down. South African skipper Josh Richards made 43 after being dropped twice. The rest of the South African batting looked very rusty against some quality Sri Lankan bowling.
Sri Lanka plays Australia in the Semi Finals this Wednesday at the same venue. Sri Lanka entered the under 19s World cup in 2000, but have not qualified for the semi final round since then. West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Sri Lanka end up as the top four teams to qualify for the semi finals.
SRI LANKA 293 FOR 8 WICKETS IN 50 OVERS.
BHANUKA RAJAPAKSA 79
KITHRUWAN VITHANAGE 45
ROMESH BUDDIKA 42
MAP FERNANDO 28
MD GUNATHILEKE 24 NOT OUT
JERRY NQOLO 2 FOR 46
SOUTH AFRICA 145 ALL OUT IN 36.4 OVERS
JOSH RICHARDS 43
CHARITH JAYAMPATHI 4 FOR 31
SN RAJAGURU 2 FOR 15