South Africa has twice made the final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, losing to Australia by seven wickets in 2002, and then to India by 12 runs in 2008. One of the teams with the most international experience since the 2010 event, where it finished fifth, the team will be expecting to improve on its last performance.
South Africa has played two ODI series against Zimbabwe over the past two years, winning every match in both five-match series. The team continued its strong performance with a 4-2 series win against England U19s in England, winning the final and deciding ODI with four wickets and 11 overs to spare. South Africa’s bowlers anchored the series, with Prenelan Subrayen taking the most wickets in the series (14), followed by Rabian Engelbrecht (10). Quinton de Kock was the leading run-getter, scoring 341 runs in seven matches.
In early 2012, South Africa hosted a Tri-series against Pakistan and Zimbabwe, winning four of its matches before defeating Pakistan in the final by 134 runs.
Its only series loss was against Pakistan in January 2012. South Africa lost the series decider by two wickets with only three balls remaining, despite an extraordinary performance by Quinton de Kock, who scored 133 off 135 balls.
Quinton de Kock has hit three centuries in international matches since the 2010 tournament, and, along with fellow big hitter Gihahn Cloete, who smashed centuries against Zimbabwe and England, will give the team confidence of advancing through the group stage.
A number of stars of the international game have played for South Africa Under 19s, including Graeme Smith, Johan Botha and Hashim Amla, who have all moved on to captain the national team.