The 2024 edition of the U19 World Cup in South Africa saw several bowlers make the most of their opportunities and step up for their respective teams. The phrase ‘bowlers win you championships’ seems cliche but proved to be true once again as teams with some genuine wicket-takers went deep into the tournament.
There were some performances, where a bowler almost single-handedly put his team in the driver’s seat to win the game. The likes of Kwena Maphaka were able to do it on multiple occasions, just showing the pedigree they had for top-level international cricket.
On that note, let’s take a look at five of the best bowling performances at the U19 World Cup 2024:
#5 Kwena Maphaka, 6/21, South Africa vs Sri Lanka
Young South African pace sensation Kwena Maphaka ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 21 wickets and had as many as three instances where he picked five wickets or more in a game. One such instance came against Sri Lanka in the Super Sixes stage.
Juan James and co. had posted 232/8 in their 50 overs and it seemed Sri Lanka had done a decent job to set themselves a target of 233. However, Maphaka had other plans as his sensational figures of 6/21 blew Sri Lanka away.
Maphaka sent back each of the top five Sri Lankan batters and the result then just seemed like a formality. Picking up one more scalp later, Maphaka ensured Sti Lanka were bundled out for just 113.
#4 Tazeem Chaudry Ali, 7/29, England vs Zimbabwe
The best bowling figures at the U19 World Cup 2024 were recorded by England’s wrist-spinner Tazeem Cahudry Ali. He picked up as many as seven wickets for just 29 runs against Zimbabwe in a staggering win for England.
Chasing 238, Zimbabwe couldn’t even cross the three-figure mark as they were bundled out for 91. With 14 wickets in the four games that he played, Tazeem might be looked at as a long-term replacement for Adil Rashid in England’s senior setup.
#3 Matt Rowe, 5/21, New Zealand vs Afghanistan
Matt Rowe’s incredible spell against Afghanistan proved to be the difference between the two sides in arguably what was one of the most thrilling games of the U19 World Cup 2024. His figures of 5/21 floored the Afghanistan batters as they skittled for just 91.
The target of 92 was made to look a lot bigger by the quality of the Afghanistan spinners as New Zealand kept losing wickets in clusters. Rowe also had to make a crucial contribution of 5* as he remained unbeaten at the end with New Zealand taking the game by one wicket. The close margin of victory made Rowe’s spell even more crucial.
#2 Kwena Maphaka, 5/38, South Africa vs West Indies
Kwena Maphaka had announced himself at the U19 World Cup 2024 with a clutch performance against the West Indies in South Africa’s opening game. West Indies would have probably chased the target of 286 had it not been for Maphaka’s timely breakthroughs.
The left-arm pacer unleashed the iconic ‘I don’t know’ celebration of Jasprit Bumrah as he struck with the new ball. However, the pacer also returned towards the backend of the chase to break crucial partnerships and ensure that his team bowled West Indies out for 254.
The youngster already looks way mature in terms of game awareness than most of his contemporaries at the youth level and the Proteas could have a real superstar on their hands.
#1 Tom Straker, 6/24, Australia vs Pakistan
Arguably the best performance at the U19 World Cup in terms of impact and the context of the match was from Australia’s Tom Straker in the semifinal against Pakistan. The eventual champions Australia passed a stiff test against Pakistan and a lot of that was because of Straker’s sensational outing.
Bagging figures of 6/24, the Australian pacer helped his team restrict Pakistan to just 179. It proved to be the difference between the two sides as Australia won the semifinal with just one wicket in hand. Straker also picked up the final wicket against India to help his team get crowned as the U19 World Cup champions.