Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Kwena Maphaka’s U-19 record-breaking stint raises the bar: Is he the next Rabada?

The left-arm fast bowler has already taken three five-wicket hauls at the World Cup in South Africa.


The question that must be on many people’s minds after a fantastic U-19 World Cup campaign so far is whether South Africa’s latest cricket sensation Kwena Maphaka can kick on and emulate Proteas pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada? Maphaka has been in devastating form for the hosts, with his performances a key reason South Africa find themselves in the competition's semifinals, where they will face juggernauts India, on Tuesday. It is already a record breaking event for Maphaka, who became the first bowler in U-19 World Cup history to pick up three five-wicket hauls in one tournament when he took 6/21…

Subscribe to continue reading this article
and support trusted South African journalism

Access PREMIUM news, competitions
and exclusive benefits

SUBSCRIBE
Already a member? SIGN IN HERE

The question that must be on many people’s minds after a fantastic U-19 World Cup campaign so far is whether South Africa’s latest cricket sensation Kwena Maphaka can kick on and emulate Proteas pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada?

Maphaka has been in devastating form for the hosts, with his performances a key reason South Africa find themselves in the competition’s semifinals, where they will face juggernauts India, on Tuesday.

It is already a record breaking event for Maphaka, who became the first bowler in U-19 World Cup history to pick up three five-wicket hauls in one tournament when he took 6/21 to help his side beat Sri Lanka by 119-runs in their final Super Six match last week.

He thus sits on top of the wicket-taking charts with 18 scalps at a brilliant average of 9.55, but he still has to be at the top of his game if he wants to finish first with Pakistan’s Ubaid Shah (17 wickets) and India’s Saumy Pandey (16 wickets) hot on his heels.

Following in Rabada’s footsteps?

The only time South Africa have won the U-19 World Cup was back in 2014 when they thumped Pakistan in the final in the United Arab Emirates, and they were helped by current Proteas stars Rabada and Aiden Markram – who was player of the tournament – in achieving it.

Rabada was the second highest wicket-taker at that tournament, picking up 14 wickets in five games at an average of 10.28, and it was his player of the match performance in the semifinal against Australia, picking up 6/25, that helped South Africa get into the final which they won.

Rabada burst into the Proteas setup not long after the U-19 tournament, making his T20I debut in November 2014 while still just 19-years-old, and followed that up with his ODI and Test debuts in July and November 2015, while he also clinched his best-ever Test figures of 13/144 against England in January 2016.

Whether Maphaka will be able to reach such lofty heights as early in his budding career remains to be seen, but he has certainly started off on the right foot.

His first task now will be to try to help his team get past an extremely strong India team to qualify for the final, and hopefully help secure South Africa their second U-19 World Cup title.

Read more on these topics

Kagiso Rabada proteas cricket team

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits