Career-best figures for Warriors' Tsotsobe

The Warriors’ Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who showed considerable promise with the ball last season, finished with career-best figures of seven wickets for 39 runs from 21 overs in their SuperSport Series match against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday.

In Benoni, the Cobras were playing the Titans and in Durban it was the Eagles and the Dolphins.

The quickies endeavours effectively put the skids under the Lions, ensuring they were bundled out for a mere 183.

However, the Lions’ Craig Alexander, recently imported from the Cape, evened matters up to ensure Craig Thyssen, Zander de Bruyn and Arno Jacobs all had an early shower, finishing with figures of three for 59.

When the players walked off with the shadows encroaching on the Bullring, the Warriors were on 189 for six, with Davie Jacobs four short of his half-century and Lyall Meyer on eight.

Earlier, Heinrich le Roux, who started the day on one, faced 42 balls but failed to add to his score and was eventually caught by Mario Olivier at fine-leg off De Bruyn.

The other overnight batsman, Justin Ontong on 53, also struggled to coax the ball off the square until Tsotsobe induced him to nick one to De Bruyn at first slip, for his first scalp of the day.

Claude Henderson was trapped in front for a duck, Friedel de Wet scooped a dolly to Olivier at mid-on and Alexander edged one to Colin Ingram at slip. Tsotsobe claimed four victims for the day, and seven overall.

Cobras on top

In Benoni, half-centuries by Gerhard Strydom, Benji Hector and debutant Stiaan van Zyl took the Cape Cobras to 356 for seven in their first innings on the second day of their SuperSport Series match against the Titans at Willowmoore Park.

After frequent interruptions for rain and bad light on Thursday, a full day’s cricket was possible on Friday, with 106 overs and two balls bowled, but the Titans were unable to take advantage of having won the toss.

With most of their bowling attack doing international duty in Pakistan, the Titans looked somewhat toothless and they struggled to get wickets. Ethy Mbhalati had the first breakthrough when he took two wickets in the sixth over of the day to dismiss Andrew Puttick for 33 and Henry Davids for nought.

Alistair Gray was next to go, caught by Brendon Reddy off Pierre Joubert for 38. Gerhard Strydom and captain Benji Hector shared a fourth-wicket stand of 111 off 213 balls before Imran Tahir of Pakistan, playing in his debut match for the Titans, trapped Strydom lbw for 82. Strydom faced 139 balls and hit 14 fours.

Tahir claimed his second wicket when he bowled Hector for 64.

Thami Tsolekile made 13 before he was caught by Martin van Jaarsveld off Joubert, and Rory Kleinveldt became Tahir’s third victim when he was caught behind by Heino Kuhn without scoring. Van Zyl (20) went to his 50 off 99 balls, including four fours and a six, but then was bogged down, facing 76 deliveries for his next 16 runs. He was 66 not out at close of play. Coen de Lange was not out on 38 off 53.

The Titans and the Cobras are the two teams hardest hit by the absence of national players, with nine Cobras and four Titans in Pakistan. But while most of the missing Cobras appear to be doing quite well without their national players, most of whom are batsmen, the Titans are feeling the pinch of having to do without Dale Steyn, Andre Nel, Albie Morkel and Paul Harris, who spearheaded the Titans’ inexorable march to the SuperSport title last season.

Hope for the Eagles

After a first-day wash-out, the cricketers of the Eagles and the Dolphins enjoyed sunny weather and perfect conditions in Durban as they began their battle in the shortened four-day SuperSport Series match at the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead with honours slightly tilted the Eagles’ way at the halfway mark.

Going into day three on Saturday, the Eagles, who scored 273 for nine declared, had the Dolphins in reply on 15 for one after 3.5 overs.

Boeta Dippenaar, in a captain’s innings of resolution and graft, pulled his side out of trouble after they had lost five wickets for less than a hundred, by scoring a masterful 115 before falling leg before to paceman Saidi Mhlongo. He came in at the fall of the second wicket and was last man out before the declaration. He was at the crease for 351 minutes and faced 242 balls. Along the way he struck 18 balls to the boundary fence.

The Eagles were asked to bat first and progressed slowly to 89 for the loss of the wickets of Dean Elgar (13) and Adrian McLaren (13) on a pitch that offered the bowlers a semblance of hope after all the rain of previous days.

Then came a disastrous over for the Eagles and a triumph for medium pacer Jon Kent. In his seventh over and the 36th of the match he sent back Jacques Rudolph for 29 and Morne van Wyk and Ryan Bailey without scoring. More significantly, all three were caught by wicketkeeper Daryn Smit.

But then skipper Boeta Dippenaar and Ryan McLaren stood firm in a painstaking sixth-wicket stand of 71 in 106 minutes off 145 balls before becoming Smit’s fourth victim of the innings for 46. This time the bowler was Quinton Friend.

With Thandi Tshabalala in support, Dippenaar edged closer and closer to his 26th domestic first-class century that helped set the Eagles up for a competitive first-innings score.

After his three-wicket burst Jon Kent continued to bowl effectively—he required more rest periods than normal because of a diabetic condition—and finished the day on three for 24 in 14 overs.

But with the wicket flattening out under the hot sunshine in the sessions after lunch, batting became decidedly easier and the Dolphins’ bowlers were made to struggle to contain Dippenaar and company.—Sapa

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