DUBAI: The two teams which were not expected to make it to the finals of the Under-19 World Cup 2014 have proved all the prophecies wrong. Pakistan and South Africa will now vie today (Saturday) for U-19 WC title at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
When South Africa Under-19s coach Ray Jennings spoke before the World Cup began, he got one prediction right and another wrong. He was confident his team would make the final, which they have. He also expected to meet India in it. He was wrong on that count. Their opponents are Pakistan, two-time winners of the U-19 World Cup and practically on 'home' turf in the UAE.
The defending champions India being knocked out in the quarters hasn't devalued the rest of the tournament by any means for the final promises a close contest between two good bowling sides.
It's been a bowlers' tournament and the player Pakistan will be keeping an eye on is Kagiso Rabada. He was at his optimum best against Australia in the semi-final with 6 for 25 and had rattled West Indies at the start of the tournament.
South Africa have never won an U-19 World Cup and their only world title remains the ICC knockout in 1998 in Bangladesh. The match will start at 1.00pm (Pakistan time)
Pakistan Under-19s (likely) 1 Sami Aslam (capt), 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Hasan Raza, 4 Saud Shakeel, 5 Kamran Ghulam, 6 Ameer Hamza, 7 Saifullah Khan (wk), 8 Zafar Gohar, 9 Amad Butt, 10 Karamat Ali, 11 Zia-ul-Haq.
South Africa Under-19s (likely) 1 Aiden Markram (capt), 2 Clyde Fortuin (wk), 3 Kirwin Christoffels, 4 Greg Oldfield, 5 Corbin Bosch, 6 Yaseen Valli, 7 Bradley Dial, 8 Jason Smith, 9 Dirk Bruwer, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Justin Dill.