Cape Town- South Africa under-19s opening batsman Andrew Louw says the team must back each other and trust in their plans in the effort of turning the series around ahead of the third Youth One-Day International (ODI) against Pakistan in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
Louw insists the team must focus on the task at hand, whilst trusting each member of the squad to perform their roles if they are to succeed. He also pointed out where the team came up short in Tuesday's defeat.
"It is just about keeping a level head, knowing what our plans are and executing them as they come and it is about backing each other, "Louw said on the eve of the match. "I mean out there, it is eleven of us, but we are a big team, a big family. Out in the field are eleven guys and everyone has got to trust that the guys on the field are competent and have the skills to get the job done.
"The guys were a bit pushed back, if you could put it that way. You know you are in home conditions; you have a Pakistani team come here and they are all guns blazing. They came in the first game and hit hard, so it was always about fighting back and I think it was a matter of us getting too far ahead (of ourselves), knowing we have to win this last game to bounce back in the series, making it 1-1," he continued.
Despite his valiant effort of 91 off 114 deliveries (13 fours, 1 six) at the top of the order with the hosts posting 215 all out, Pakistan took a two-nil lead after chasing the score down with four wickets remaining.
Louw's contribution with the bat, a maiden half-century, was the highlight for South Africa. With wickets falling around, the right-hander had to be patient at the crease, while maintaining a suitable run rate as he helped propel the home side to a competitive total.
Louw says he was pleased with his performance in tough circumstances but also credited the opposition bowlers, including Pakistan's key wicket-takers, Naseem Shah and Akhtar Shah.
"It was nice," he mentioned. "In the team, we speak a lot about showing character out there and it is about standing up when things are tough. That comes with the responsibility of representing your country and when times are hard, you've got to dig deep, and things obviously went a bit better for me.
"It was challenging but with the challenge, you know you have to find a way to counter-punch that. Standing there, you must try and figure out a way, where you are going to score and what you are going to leave. They are good bowlers and I feel like at this level we are playing at, they are really world class," he added.
The former Northern Cape High pupil, who made his debut in the first match of the series, captained the Northern Cape side in last year's Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week. He believes his cricketing journey wasn't straightforward but making the SA under-19s has made it all worth it. He credits Duane Bredenkamp, who coached him in high school since under-14s alongside Jason Brooker at under-19 provincial level and Eugene Jacobs as his mentor.
"To be honest, it came as a surprise for me (his selection), but I worked hard," he said. "I listened to the advice that I could find around me, it wasn't an easy journey, a lot of the times it was very discouraging. From the Northern Cape, not many people would be playing here, so it's a massive privilege and an honour for me. It's not something you could say 'Hey, my mate made the SA U19 team, I could be next', it was something that had to be self-driven.
"With persistence, hard work and the Lord's grace, I have made it here, but it has been a hard journey and I am thankful and really privileged to be here," he concluded.
The third Youth ODI takes place on Thursday at the City Oval from 09:00.