South Africa A emerged champions of the ATN Records tri-nation tournament yesterday where they somehow managed to keep West Indies A at bay, winning by five runs in a high-scoring encounter at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
West Indies A made the ultimate blunder by deciding to field first on a dead track that offered nothing for their three-pronged pace attack. South Africa piled 328-7 from their 50 overs.
Needing 18 runs from the final over bowled by Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Chadwick Walton took two off the very first ball and then smashed a six off the second. But the left-arm paceman bowled two good deliveries and off the fifth ball, removed Walton for a blistering 29-ball 64. Brendan Nash managed only a single when seven was needed off the final ball, ending the innings at 323-6. The second string Caribbean side took 55 off the last five overs with the 25-year-old Walton, who smashed three sixes and six boundaries in his innings, taking the initiative along with Nash. The two shared an 88-run sixth wicket stand.
Devon Smith scored the hundred he's been threatening all along, cracking eleven boundaries in his 120-ball 115 but became the fourth man out in the 41st over. He had earlier shared a 156-run third wicket partnership with Darren Bravo, who made 69 off 86 balls, after they lost two early wickets for 37 runs.
The South Africans bowled a tight line for most of the 50 overs but lost shape in the final hour. Tsotsobe picked up three wickets for 76 runs while Quinton Friend took 2 for 73. Probably it was Thandi Tshabala's ten overs that turned the match. Although wicketless, the off-spinner cut out the boundaries, slowing down the run-rate.
But the West Indies A bowlers had little luck after Travis Dowlin called correctly at the toss. Morne van Wyk and Stiaan van Zyl made a solid start, adding 55 for the first wicket. The left-handed van Zyl played the anchor role with his 62 off 78 balls that had nine boundaries.
Rilee Roussouw scored a rapid 64-ball 80 that had nine fours and a six, and took the South Africans towards a huge score which they eventually achieved. The left-hander had good support from Colin Ingram, who batted well for his 41.
David Miller, who earned a call-up in the South Africa national side for the one-dayers in West Indies, struck a boundary-filled 23 off 14 balls.
The Caribbean bowlers struggled mostly, especially the pacemen who were so good in the league matches of the competition. Lionel Baker and Gavin Tonge went wicketless and were expensive and only Nelon Pascal took two very expensive wickets for 83 runs.
Off-spinner Shane Shillingford took two for 50 and Imran Khan took one.
Smith was adjudged man-of-the-match while Bravo earned the man-of-the-tournament award.
SCORES IN BRIEF
SOUTH AFRICA A: 328-7 in 50 overs (van Zyl 62, Roussouw 80, Ingram 41; Pascal 2-83, Shillingford 2-50).
WEST INDIES A: 323-6 in 50 overs (Smith 115, Bravo 69, Walton 64; Tsotsobe 3-76).
Result: South Africa A won by five runs.
Man-of-the-match: Devon Smith.
Man-of-the-tournament: Darren Bravo.