South Africa set up what could be a Group B deciding showdown with India on Tuesday as the junior Proteas beat an in-form West Indies side by three wickets in a see-saw game at Kinrara Oval.
With India beating Papua New Guinea in the opening fixture of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup both teams are now on one win from one and so whichever side wins tomorrow is assured of progressing through to the Super League stage of the game.
Images: West Indies vs South Africa
Rilee Rossouw was the saviour of South Africa as he anchored the run-chase and saw the side home with an unbeaten knock of 58. Rossouw's family had come out all the way from Bloemfontein to support him and his mother was on hand at the end to give him a well-deserved hug for his man-of-the-match efforts.
Set a modest target of 223 to win, the chase began disastrously for South Africa as it lost Pieter Malan lbw to Jason Dawes before a run had been scored. It was perhaps no more than the West Indies' bowlers expected having made the batting lineups of Australia and Sri Lanka look ordinary in the warm-up matches last week.
But then Jon-Jon Smuts and Reeza Hendricks added 74 for the second wicket and coach Ray Jennings could breathe easy again.
But not for long as Smuts (45) and Hendricks (36) gave their wickets away just when they looked set to close out the game. And although Johanthan Vandiar (34) and Mohammad Vallie (15) looked good at the wicket, the wickets kept falling as West Indies' leg-spinning captain Shamarh Brooks ripped through the middle order.
And with SA teetering on 179-7, still 44 short of victory, momentum swung back the way of the West Indians. But all through this period of uncertainty, Rossouw was calm and confident, employing the sweep shot to great effect as he knocked off the runs. At the other end, number nine batsman Roy Adams proved to be a solid partner and it is difficult to overstate the importance of his contribution, which was worth 26 crucial runs.
Earlier, captain Wayne Parnell (3-37) and Jacobus Pienaar (3-36) bowled well to restrict the West Indies to 222-8. The hard-hitting opener Kieran Powell (53) and later Devon Thomas (53) were the chief run-getters for the West Indies but they will rue a fruitless period in the middle overs when South Africa's medium-pacers stifled their attempts to compile a big total.
Effectively, the West Indies must now win its remaining two games in the group if it is to progress to the Super League. But in such adversity comes a certain clarity of thought so don't rule out Larry Gomes' team just yet.
Elsewhere, at Johor Cricket Academy, New Zealand found it tough going early on against a formidable Zimbabwe attack and managed only 221-8 off its 50 overs with Corey Anderson top scoring with 82.
But in reply, Zimbabwe crumbled and was eventually all out for 123 thanks to a fine spell from Tim Southee, who ended with figures of 5-11 off 8.4 overs. Only Daniel Landman (51) provided any real resistance to the Southee-led onslaught.
At Penang Sports Club, Sri Lanka was made to work very hard for victory over Nepal. As we saw two years ago when the U/19 CWC was staged in Colombo, Nepal is a very difficult outfit to beat at this level. A crucial innings of 62 from Sachith Pathirana allowed Sri Lanka to post a competitive 236-9 with Amrit Bhattarai taking 4-42 for the Nepal boys.
And that total proved too much for Nepal as the Sri Lanka bowling, led by Pathirana (3-31), gradually gained control during the innings.
At Bayuemas, a fine innings from Nasir Hossain set up a comfortable 178-run victory for Bangladesh over Bermuda. Having lost the toss, Sohrawardi Shuvo's batsmen were kept in check by tight bowling from Bermuda but Hossain was the backbone making 84 off 95 balls, including eight fours and a six.
In the end, Bangladesh made a respectable 260 and it was always going to be a tough total to chase for Bermuda, which is appearing in its first U/19 CWC. Skipper Shuvo was one of the heroes for the winning team taking 3-9 as Bermuda collapsed to 82 all out in front of a sizable and vociferous Bangladesh crowd.
On Tuesday, India takes on South Africa at Kinrara Oval in a match being telecast live by ICC's host broadcaster ESPN-STAR Sports. Also in Kuala Lumpur, England takes on Bermuda at Royal Selangor Club while in Penang, Australia faces Nepal at USM and in Johor, defending champion Pakistan plays New Zealand at MPTI.
Scores in brief:
At Johor Cricket Academy, New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by 98 runs
New Zealand 221-8, 50 overs (Corey Anderson 82; Prince Masvaure 3-37, Daniel Landman 2-42)
Zimbabwe 123 all out, 42.4 overs (Daniel Landman 51, Solomon Mire 31; Tim Southee 5-11).
At Penang Sports Club, Sri Lanka beat Nepal by 61 runs
Sri Lanka 236-9, 50 overs (Sachith Pathirana 62, Ashan Subasinghe 46, Angelo Perera 41; Amrit Bhattarai 4-42, Rahul Vishwakarma 2-53)
Nepal 175 all out, 48.5 overs (Mahesh Chhetri 39; Sachith Pathirana 3-31, Kusal Perera 2-17, Navin Kavikara 2-22, Umesh Karunarathna 2-40).
At Kinrara Oval, South Africa beat West Indies by three wickets
West Indies 222-8, 50 overs (Kieran Powell 53, Devon Thomas 53, Shacaya Thomas 41; Jacobus Pienaar 3-36, Wayne Parnell 3-37)
South Africa 223-7, 43.5 overs (Rilee Rossouw 58 not out, JJ Smuts 45, Reeza Hendricks 36; Shamarh Brooks 4-39, Veerasammy Permaul 2-35).
At Bayuemas, Bangladesh beat Bermuda by 178 runs
Bangladesh 260-8, 50 overs (Nasir Hossain 84, Ashiqul Islam 69; Malachi Jones 2-64)
Bermuda 82 all out, 26.1 overs (Sohrawardi Shuvo 3-9, Mahmudul Hasan 3-12).