/ 22 October 2007

Dolphins, Eagles post SuperSport victories

The Diamond Eagles ground out a solid 113-run victory over the Highveld Lions in their SuperSport Series fixture that ended mid-way through the final session at the De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley, on Sunday afternoon.

Starting the fourth and final day’s play on 147/4 in their second innings and needing to score another 294 runs to achieve an unlikely victory, the remaining Highveld Lions batsmen fought hard on a pitch that probably played as well on Sunday as at any time during the match.

It was a determined attempt to deny Boeta Dippenaar’s team from achieving a second successive victory, but in the end it was not to be.

The turning point was probably Ryan McLaren’s brilliant, direct-hit throw-in from the covers that found Highveld Lions’ skipper Neil McKenzie just out of his ground when attempting a quick single about 10 minutes before the lunch interval.

McKenzie’s fighting 54 (176 balls, 6×4, 1×6) lasted all of four hours. Lunch was taken with the Highveld Lions on 214/6 and though wicketkeeper Matthew Harris’s 41, Heinrick le Roux’s 32, Friedel de Wet’s 26 and Garnet Kruger’s five-boundary 25 not out made the Diamond Eagles fight all the way through the afternoon, the visitors were eventually dismissed for 327.

The pick of the Eagles’ bowlers was again opening bowler Dillon du Preez who took 4/72 in 33 overs to finish with excellent match figures of 10/112 in 48,2 overs. All-rounder Ryan McLaren again gave good support with 2/68 in 25 overs.

In Durban, despite all weather interruptions, the Dolphins posted a seven-wicket victory over reigning SuperSport champions the Titans in their match played at Kingsmead.

The home side, needing 111 runs for victory after they had bowled out their visitors for 240, easily achieved the target for the loss of only three wickets.

Imraan Khan, who top-scored in the Dolphins’ first innings with 80, fittingly struck the winning runs to finish unbeaten five runs short of what would have been his 19th first-class 50.

Keeping him company at the crease when Khan struck the single through mid-wicket, which clinched the game, was Jon Kent on 12.

Earlier, the Titans — resuming on their overnight score of 75 for two, with Faf du Plessis on 10 and nightwatchman Brendon Reddy on four — lost the wicket of Du Plessis after he edged one to keeper Darren Smit, with the score on 86.

Wickets tumbled at regular intervals, with no one able to establish command; in fact, the top scorer was Reddy, who struck six fours in a 50-ball 38.

Johann Louw was the man to set the cat among the pigeons, returning figures of 28-6-88-6, his eighth first-class ”fifer”. — Sapa