South Africa held their nerve in defending a low score for the second match in a row in their 45-run victory over the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ayanda Hlubi of South Africa celebrates following the ICC Women's U19 T20 World Cup 2023 match between South Africa and UAE at Willowmoore Park on January 18, 2023 in Benoni, South Africa.

South Africa held their nerve in defending a low score for the second match in a row in their 45-run victory over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their ICC Under19 Women’s T20 World Cup clash in Benoni.

The victory, which had eerily similar statistics to their last match against Scotland, was taken away from the UAE thanks to the remarkable figures of 4/11 off four overs by off-break bowler Miane Smit, securing the hosts’ qualification for the Super Six League stage in second place, in Group D.

Batting first for the third, successive match after the UAE won the toss and decided to bowl, wasn’t the only case of deja vu for South Africa, they also scored 112/7 in their 20 overs – the same score from their innings against Scotland.

While the South Africans could have taken that to be a good omen because they went on to win their match against the Scots by 44 runs, it also meant their innings stuttered and was in desperate need of the three contributions of 20 plus runs by openers Elandri Janse van Rensburg and Simone Lourens, as well as skipper Oluhle Siyo lower down the order.

After enduring a first over maiden by the UAE’s lanky left-arm pace bowler Mahika Gaur, Lourens and Janse Van Rensburg put on 33 for their opening stand. The former went on to top-score with a 29-ball 27 (three fours) while the latter had already put in a big-hitting 24 (23 balls, five fours) by the time she was dismissed.

South Africa’s ploy of holding captain, Siyo, back instead of letting her bat at first drop, paid dividends as she contributed a useful 25 not out (28 balls, one boundary) coming in seventh and providing the sting in the tail with lower order batters like Jenna Evans (17).

While they had given themselves something to bowl at by the end of the innings, it was inescapable that, for the second match in a row, they had left themselves a lot of work to do in the field.

Thankfully, the bowlers were up for the fight again, building pressure with accurate bowling and taking wickets regularly to not give the UAE a sniff.

The opening pair of off-spinner Jemma Botha (1/11 off four overs) and pace bowler Ayanda Hlubi – who took 2/6 off her first two overs, with both scalps coming from successive deliveries – put the brakes on the run-rate and also took wickets.

Kayler Reyneke (1/22), leg-spinner Seshnie Naidu (2/16) and Smit didn’t let up either when they came on, the latter administering the knockout blow through a double strike in her first over and accounting for four of the last six UAE wickets to fall.

Scores in brief:

Toss: UAE, who elected to bowl.

South Africa 112 for 7 in 20 overs (Simone Lourens 27, Oluhle Siyo 25, Lavanya Keny two for 10, Vaishnave Mahesh two for 22)

UAE 67 all out in 17 overs (Samaira Dharnidharka 13, Lavanya Keny 11, Miane Smit four for 11, Ayanda Hlubi two for six)

South Africa won by 45 runs.