By Neto Baptiste
Led by an inspirational 88 off just 42 balls from Jacob Bethell, England beat South Africa by six wickets to reach the semi-finals of the ICC Under-19 World Cup on Wednesday when the two teams clashed at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in the first of four quarterfinal matches here in Antigua.
The 18-year-old opening batsman who features for County side Warwickshire in the England domestic league struck 16 fours and two sixes at the North Sound venue as England chased down a target of 210 in just 31.2 overs. The victors reached 212 for the loss of just four wickets.
Bethell had help from middle order batsman William Luxton who made 47 from 41 deliveries which included six fours and two sixes. Dewald Brevis picked up two wickets for 40 runs in 6.2 overs for South Africa.
Earlier, after winning the toss and opting to bat, South Africa were bowled out for 209 in 43.4 overs, despite Brevis’ 97 from 88 balls. The next best scorer was Gerhardus Maree with 27 from 45 deliveries.
Leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed was best on show for the bowling team, snatching four for 48 in his quota of 10 overs. There were two wickets each for Joshua Boyden and James Sales.
England, whose only previous tournament win was in 1998, were unbeaten in their group-stage games, beating defending champions Bangladesh by seven wickets in their opening match, before thrashing Canada by 106 runs and then UAE by 189 runs.
India face Bangladesh, Australia take on Pakistan and Afghanistan will come up against Sri Lanka in the remaining quarter-finals.
The final will be held on February 4.