Bell-Drummond heroics in vain
Daniel Bell-Drummond’s impressive innings was not enough as England Under-19’s lost the first one-day international against South Africa by four wickets at Edgbaston.
In a rain-affected match reduced to 31 overs-a-side, Bell-Drummond smashed 86 off 74 balls before spinner Prenelan Subrayen took 3-32 off seven overs to restrict England to 187 for seven.
In reply, South Africa looked to be cruising to victory thanks to Quinton de Kock's 40 and James Price's 19-ball 35, before Tom Knight gave England hope with 3-27.
However, an unbeaten 28 from Regardt Verster helped South Africa to their revised victory target of 189 with just seven balls remaining to put them 1-0 ahead in the seven-match series.
After England were put into bat, they soon hit the ground running with Bell-Drummond smashing an array of well-timed boundaries all around the wicket as he dominated his opening partnership with Sam Kelsall.
Bell-Drummond continued to attack in the opening powerplay before rain saw the players leave the field in the sixth over.
When play resumed, the Kent batsman raced to fifty off just 33 balls, including nine fours.
Kelsall was first to fall with the score on 76 in the 12th over when he left his crease to be stumped by de Kock off Subrayen for a patient 17.
Adam Rossington came and went four overs later as he was run out by Rabian Engelbrecht for seven, but the arrival of Sam Wood soon upped the run-rate as he attacked from the off.
Wood added 29 off 30 balls before providing Keaton Jennings with a return catch.
England started to falter in the middle overs against the spinners and things went from bad to worse when the attacking Bell-Drummond was dismissed by Lesiba Ngoepe to leave the hosts 148 for four in the 25th over.
A flurry of wickets then followed in the final two overs of the innings as England tried to add precious runs.
Captain Adam Ball became Ngoepe’s second victim before Subrayen accounted for both Ben Foakes and Brett Hutton.
South Africa started positively with captain Jennings despatching wayward opening pair Reece Topley and Jamie Overton to the boundary on numerous occasions.
However, Overton made the important breakthrough in the third over when Jennings tickled an away-swinging delivery behind to Foakes.
South Africa soon slipped to 83 for two as de Kock, reverse-sweeping, was bowled by Knight.
Shaylin Pillay was next to follow as he was bowled through the gate by Peter Burgoyne for 23.
Wood made an instant impact when he was introduced into the attack, having Malcoln Nofal, trying to hit over the top, caught at mid-on for 11.
However, Price then started to attack the England spinners with two massive sixes as South Africa, needing just 47 off 10 overs, sensed victory.
England fought back as Knight trapped Price in front before the Derbyshire spinner claimed his third scalp with the dismissal of Ngoepe.
Yet with 22 required from the final three overs, Verster and Calvin Savage, who finished with 12 not out, kept calm to ease South Africa to victory.