In the other game of the day, Ireland beat USA by a comfortable seven wickets in a victory that set them well in a group also comprising recent champions India and Bangladesh.

A supreme bowling performance from pacer Kwena Maphaka ensured tournament hosts South Africa downed West Indies in a close contest in Potchefstroom. The Proteas had to fight back after a brilliant knock from Andrew (130) put his side on the brink of a famous win.

Arya Garg
Arya Garg right, picked up two of the three wickets that fell. Photos courtesy of ICC

Ireland beat USA by seven wickets in Bloemfontein
USA 105 (40.2 overs) lost to Ireland 109/3 (22.5)

Ireland captain Philippe Le Roux elected to field first to make the most of the early movement.

The Irish pacers responded to the call, picking up four American wickets in the first Powerplay. Olly Riley starred early on thanks to three scalps with the new ball, accounting for Prannav Chettipalayam, Siddarth Kappa, and Utkarsh Srivastava cheaply, leaving USA reduced to 26/4.

Wickets continued falling in the middle overs as the USA batters struggled against pace. The lack of a sturdy partnership meant the team was skittled for 105. Riley and Reuben Wilson finished with three wickets apiece for Ireland.

USA got off to a near-perfect start thanks to the left-arm pace of Arya Garg. The youngster struck twice, leaving Ireland startled at 5/2.

Ryan Hunter and Kian Hilton came together then for the third wicket, and they saw off the challenge of the new ball, gathering runs off loose deliveries. Their stand helped Ireland close in on the 106-run target.

Despite losing Hilton in the 14th over, Ireland were well set in their chase and eventually finished the game in the 23rd over. Hunter celebrated a half-century as the team closed in on the target before captain Le Roux hit the winning runs in front of a jubilant Irish dugout to get their campaign off to a strong start.

South Africa beat West Indies by 31 runs in Potchefstroom
South Africa 285/9 (50 overs) vs West Indies 254 all out (40.1 overs)

West Indies skipper Stephan Pascal won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Despite the early loss of Steve Stolk (5) in just the fourth over, Lhuan-Dre Pretorius’ aggressive start meant South Africa were on the front foot. Pretorius hit six fours and a six during his 34-ball stay at the crease, with South Africa going at six an over.

Jewel Andrew
Jewel Andrew of West Indies struck the first century of the tournament.

However, the West Indies spinners took charge in the middle overs, and a beauty from Nathan Sealy brought about the end of Pretorius’ stay in the middle. The disciplined tweakers – Tarrique Edward being the other – brought the scoring rate to under five by the mid-innings stage.

It meant David Teeger had to play the role of an anchor to ensure the young Proteas remained in the fight. He scored a 98-ball 44, and had good support from Oliver Whitehead (26 off 35), the duo taking the hosts to 145/4.

However, Sealy’s double strike in the 35th over brought West Indies back in charge. It needed a fighting partnership between Dewan Marais and Juan James to help lift South Africa to a fighting total. Marais’ assured 38-ball 65 pushed the hosts back, and captain James keeping pace at the other end with 47, the hosts posted a fighting 285/9.

West Indies had an ominous start to their chase, losing their top three within the first three overs. Kwena Maphaka did the initial damage with the ball. His efforts were soon backed up by Riley Norton, and the Caribbean side lost half their team by the 10-over mark.

It was then that Jewel Andrew’s quality shone through. Along with Nathan Sealy, Andrew exhibited patience as well as ruthlessness, his six-hitting particularly eye-catching.

Andrew hit 11 fours and three sixes on the way to his century, keeping West Indies in the game, with Sealy providing an assured hand at the other end. However, South Africa made the most of an unfortunate mix-up, running out Sealy and reducing West Indies to 190/6.

Andrew continued from the other end, keeping West Indies in the hunt with his exquisite strokeplay. So long as Andrew was in the middle, it seemed West Indies had a chance of pulling off a heist.

However, Maphaka and Riley Norton, the wicket-takers in the first Powerplay, proved to be South Africa’s saviours. Back-to-back wickets from the duo put the Proteas on the brink of a win, with Andrew falling for an exquisite 130 to Norton.

Maphaka finished the formalities in the 41st over, ending with a brilliant 5/38.