Meet South Africa's Kwena Maphaka: The first bowler to register a five-wicket haul at U19 World Cup 2024
South Africa has gifted the cricketing world with many fast bowling sensations over the years. Allan Donald, Makhaya Ntini, Kagiso Rabada, and Anrich Nortje are some of the prominent names in the long list of pacers that the rainbow nation has gifted to this world, and it looks like another name is going to be there in the list soon. He is none other than left-arm pacer Kwena Maphaka, who claimed a five-wicket haul in South Africa's opening encounter in the U19 World Cup 2024 against West Indies on Friday.
Still only 17 years old, this is Maphaka's second visit at the U19 World Cup. He played the last edition as a mere 15-year-old and here he is again in a stronger and better avatar.
Maphaka is a generational talent. At such a young age, he has already played two first-class matches, an equal number of List-A games and five T20s as well. While his List-A returns haven't been that imprerssive, Maphaka has started off rather well in first-class and t20 formats. He is averaging 19.66 in t20s with six wickets to his name. In the red ball format, he has seven wickets at 27.71 runs a piece.
In fact, he is so talented that even the SA20 franchise Paarl Royals acquired his services ahead of the 2024 season. That shows how highly the scouts and coaches at the top level rate him.
Kwena Maphaka's spell dismantled the West Indies U19 batting lineup
On Friday, his talent and skills were on display again as he bowled South Africa to victory over the West Indies U19 side by 31 runs. The 17-year-old bowled a sensational spell of 9.1-1-38-5, with three of his wickets coming with the new ball within his first couple of overs. He came back at the death after that and cleaned up the tailenders without any fuss.
Kwena Maphaka is so good!— Prasenjit Dey (@CricPrasen) January 19, 2024
He can swing the ball, can hit the deck hard, and also pretty much nails the yorkers.
Looks like a complete package! The next pace bowling sensation from South Africa is already here.#U19WorldCuppic.twitter.com/TyEyzijeRV
Throughout his spell, Maphaka showed a varied range of skills. He swung the new ball in both directions and also bowled steep bouncers from time to time. It showed that he isn't someone who can just swing the ball but he also has the ability to hit the deck hard. And, when the death overs came, he also unleashed his yorkers that were quite lethal and accurate. He bowled with brilliant intensity and brisk pace throughout the day and was also adjudged the Player of the Match for his efforts.
"Very nice to come out here and put in a good performance. The ball was shaping, just tried to use that to my advantage and bowl a few short ones in between," Maphaka said after the match.
"We just needed to keep them under pressure and limit their runs and boundaries. There are still more boxes to tick. It's definitely more about the process going forward," he added.
South Africa U19 skipper Juan James also praised Maphaka's performance.
"He (Maphaka) is amazing, he is always striking with the ball. We were two bowlers short today, but we managed to come out on top, that's a huge plus for us," he said.