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Maphaka and Stolk relishing home World Cup

By Cricket SA , in Cricket | Featured Cricket | News , at 2024-01-18 Tags: ,

18 January 2024

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 06: Steve Stolk of South Africa during the Men’s U19 Tri-Series, 5th Youth ODI match between South Africa and India at Old Edwardians CC on January 06, 2024 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

South Africa under-19 starlets, Kwena Maphaka and Steve Stolk, are relishing the prospect of a home World Cup as they prepare with their team to take on the world.

The country will stage the ICC u19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, starting on Friday in Bloemfontein and Potchefstroom, with the tournament set to run from 19 January to 11 February.

Both players are expected to play key roles for South Africa, who are drawn in Group B alongside England, Scotland and the West Indies, whom they will face in their opener at the JB Marks Oval on Friday.

For Maphaka, one of the nation’s finest fast bowling prospects, it will be a second ICC u19 Cricket World Cup tournament after the 17-year-old featured for the junior Proteas at the last edition held in the Caribbean two years ago. But there is nothing better for him than a World Cup being played on home soil.

“The mood in the camp is very good and the boys are very excited,” the 17-year-old Lions’ sensation said. “There are some nerves at the same time, but it’s a good thing to have before an occasion as momentous as this, so we’re looking forward to it.

“Playing at home is obviously something really nice to have. You’ve got that home ground advantage, which plays into our hands a little bit. I think it’s just really nice that everyone knows the conditions quite well, and you’ve got people here that really back you.

“You can have your friends and family come over. You’ve got people that you know right there, watching live, so it just adds on to the privilege of being at a World Cup.”

Kwena Maphaka – Photo: Gallo Images (Darren Stewart)

For opening batsman Stolk, aged 17, too, there is nothing better than what lies ahead for coach Malibongwe Maketa and his charges over the next three weeks.

“I’m personally really excited to be representing my country in a home World Cup. There is, honestly, no better opportunity and honour as a young cricketer,” he said. “A home World Cup is, obviously, special, and I think we do have an advantage. We look forward to South Africans coming out in numbers and supporting us. This is one of the biggest benefits.”

Both players are also looking forward to dominating their disciplines as they try to help South Africa win a second World Cup crown. They previously won it in 2014.

“I’m feeling quite good,” Maphaka, who has taken 12 wickets in his last three outings, said. “It’s very exciting to be back for my second campaign.

“I can’t really say too much about my personal goals. It’s something I like to keep to myself before a tournament and rather speak about them after the tournament, once the dust settles, also on whether I achieved them or not. So, I’m just looking to contribute to the team and hopefully I can help us on our way to a World Cup [title].”

Stolk, too, was in good touch in recent weeks, helping the South Africans reach the final of the Tri-series against India.

He added: “I’m feeling in quite good touch. But that, I feel, is very much a mental thing; I need to ensure I keep a clear mind and have my options in place.”

Naturally with any home World Cup, there are expectations – expectations from fans, coaches, players, and everyone who knows sport. Maphaka feels the South African team is ready to live up to those expectations.

“Everyone knows their expectations and everyone’s clear on what they need to do,” he said. “So, the expectation really is just to go out there and do your job…and if everyone does that, I think we’re going to go really far in this tournament, and we definitely have a shot at winning the World Cup.”

SA u19 Men’s Squad – ICC U19 Men’s World Cup 2024
Juan James (captain, Western Province), Martin Khumalo (Easterns), Tristan Luus (Dolphins), Kwena Maphaka (Lions), Dewan Marias (Easterns), Nqobani Mokoena (Dolphins), Riley Norton (Boland), Romashan Pillay (Dolphins), Sipho Potsane (Lions), Lhuan-dré Pretorius (Titans), Richard Seletswane (Lions), Steve Stolk (Titans), David Teeger (Lions), Oliver Whitehead (Western Province) and Ntando Zuma (KwaZulu-Natal Inland).

error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.