Matthew Breetzke struck his second century in three games but it was not enough as the Coca-Cola South Africa Under-19s slipped to heart-breaking, two-run defeat to West Indies in their Youth One-Day International series decider at the Chatsworth Oval in Durban on Wednesday. Chasing 245 for victory, the hosts appeared to be cruising to victory on 206/2 in the 44th over, before collapsing in a heap at a crucial time of the game. They eventually ended on 242/7 to hand the reigning world champions a 3-2 series win.
It was a disappointing end to a high quality series that was neck-and-neck throughout. The South Africans, who had been 1-0 up and 2-1 up, won the toss in the final game and asked the visitors to bat first in Chatsworth. Keagan Simmons was the star for the tourists, carrying his bat on his way to an unbeaten 107 (152 balls, 14 fours). Joshua Persaud (46) and Alick Athanaze (40) also made useful contributions in a total of 244/5. Thando Ntini was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 38. The home side responded in emphatic fashion for most of their innings. Jiveshan Pillay (44) put on 112 for the first wicket alongside Breetzke, who then went on to add 70 with Gerald Coetzee for the second wicket. Even when Breetzke eventually fell for exactly 100 (114 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes), just 39 was needed from 41 balls with seven wickets still standing.
However, they failed to keep their composure with Bhaskar Yadram’s three for 37 proving crucial as West Indies sealed a tense series win.