Cape Town - Abbas Afridi recorded an unbeaten half-century and claimed two wickets to lead Pakistan to a 17-run win over the South Africa under-19s in the opening Youth One-Day International at the Chatsworth Oval on Saturday.
The victory gives the visitors a one-nil lead in the seven-match series.
Man of the Match Afridi scored a crucial 53 (68 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes) at the backend of the innings to help guide his side to a competitive 226/9 before ending with figures of two for 44 in his allotted 10 overs in the successful defence of their total.
After losing the toss and being asked to bowl, the SA under-19s began on the back foot following Pakistan's opening century stand between Mohammad Ali (28) and Haider Ali. The latter raced to 60 off 52 deliveries (8 fours) before the home side took the game by the scruff of the neck, taking eight wickets at the expense of just 49 runs.
The collapse was inspired by Bryce Parsons (2/24), who's two quick wickets after the first drinks break was complimented by scalps from Lifa Ntanzi (2/59), Gerald Coetzee (1/46), Achille Cloete (1/34) and Micheal Copeland 1/26) while Tiaan van Vuuren (1/32) also chipped in.
With his side reeling on 150/8, Afridi teamed up with Naseem Shah (23) to record a substantial 69-run, ninth-wicket partnership to carry their side into the break with their tails up.
In reply, South Africa's effort with the bat was curtailed by economical bowling from the sub-continent outfit. Despite limiting the opposition’s wicket-taking opportunities throughout the innings, the required run-rate began to get away from the hosts.
Contributions from Jonathan Bird (40), Luke Beaufort (46) and a valiant half-century (57* off 64 balls, 1 four, 2 sixes) from Parsons gave them a glimmer of hope but the pressures of a climbing run rate and regular inroads made by Afridi and Naseem Shah (2/45) ensured Pakistan got over the line, restricting the SA under-19s to 209/9 after 50 overs.
The series now moves to Pietermaritzburg, where the second encounter gets underway on Tuesday, June 25 at the City Oval from 09:00.