The Zimbabwe Under-19 national cricket team faces off against the South African Under-19 team in the first youth one-day international (ODI) at the Goodwood Cricket Club Oval in Cape Town Thursday.
Today’s match will be the first of the five youth ODIs and two Twenty20 matches between the two sides in a series which is being used by the two teams to prepare for next year’s Under-19 World Cup.
Under-19 team coach Chris Harris told NewsDay Sport from South Africa yesterday that although results had not been forthcoming, the main aim was to come from the tour an improved side.
“We didn’t win any of the matches at the Cubs Week tournament but we managed to draw one of the matches yesterday (Tuesday) and there have been some positives we have learned from this tour.
“There is definitely a lot of talent in this team but there was need for some more exposure and this tour has been very important in ensuring that but we now need to make some progress.
“However, beating South Africa is going to be a tall order because the South African lads have been playing non-stop for the past six months but we will give it our best shot,” said the former New Zealand international.
Besides preparing for the World Cup, the current tour will also play a vital role in preparing the youngsters for international cricket as the bulk of the players in the current national team have represented Zimbabwe at the Under-19 World Cup.
The second match will be on Saturday at the Maties Ground in Stellenbosch, while the third match will be played on Sunday at Bridgehouse High School near Franschoek.
The last two 50-over matches will be played at the home ground of South African franchise Cobras.
The tour will be concluded with Twenty20 matches, the first to be played at the Boland Park in Paarl on January 22 before the tour concludes with the final T20 match at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town the next day.
The South African team is being captained by Keaton Jennings, who masterminded South Africa’s whitewash over Zimbabwe in June last year in Harare.
Zimbabwe: Matthew Bentley, Kyle Bowi, Ryan Burl, Brian Chari, Atish Chouhan, Mamhiyo Goodwill, Roy Kaia, Kasuza Kasuza, Malcom Lake, Vuyisile Mapala, Liberty Nherera, Callum Price, Kudzai Sauramba, Enwerem Tockukwu, Peacemore Zimwa
South Africa: Keaton Jennings (captain), Quinton de Kock, Johan du Preez, Grant Edmeades, Rabian Engelbrecht, Chad Fortune, Malcolm Nofal, Shaylin Pillay, James Price, Keagan Rafferty, Diego Rosier, Prenelan Subrayen, Lionel Vaaltyn, Regardt Verster, Lizaad Williams