ZIMBABWE – Expectations rarely meet reality. It is a lesson the South African Under-19 cricket side are struggling with. They headed into the ICC Under-19 World Cup as the much-heralded defending champions waiting to be crowned again — the legacy of their predecessors, who so gloriously won the trophy in 2014.
But they were relegated to the Plate Championship after the shock loss against Namibia, and even here they weren’t able to flourish.
At the Sheikh Kamal International Stadium in Cox’s Bazar, they were comprehensively outclassed by their significantly less-glamorous neighbours — Zimbabwe Under-19.
It was South Africa’s first major challenge since the Namibia loss — the two intervening wins came against Associate sides — and they crumbled at the first hurdle.
They were bundled out for a paltry 91 and Zimbabwe sealed their berth in the ninth-place playoff with an eight-wicket victory.
South Africa were left licking their wounds, knowing they could yet finish as low as 12th.