/ 10 November 2007

Dolphins put on fine batting display

A fine exhibition of responsible batting right down the order by the Dolphins enabled them to wipe out a 135-run overnight deficit and end the second day’s play in their SuperSport Series match against the Warriors at East London’s Buffalo Park 206 runs ahead with two wickets in hand on Friday.

This position of strength gives the KwaZulu-Natal side a solid foundation on which to launch a bid for victory and thus leapfrog the East Cape franchise into second place on the log.

Perhaps the best of many highlights in the day’s play was the surprisingly mature batting by the 17-year-old Durban High School pupil Jonathan Vandiar.

With youthful exuberance, Vandiar disregarded the hard-earned reputation of three international bowlers in the Warriors line-up by stroking the ball to all parts of the field in an entertaining 61 that included six boundaries and a towering six in his SuperSport Series debut.

When play resumed in fine weather with a stiffish westerly sweeping diagonally across the field, which posed problems throughout the day for the bowlers, the visitors were 135 runs behind the Warriors’ total of 203 with eight wickets in hand.

Doug Watson and Ahmed Amla set the tone for the day with a stand of 85.

Warriors skipper Zander de Bruin used seven bowlers in trying to dislodge the Dolphins’ batters, but the runs kept coming in damaging partnerships.

Watson eventually fell three runs short of what would have been a well-deserved 100 and Amla, Shaun Pollock, Vandiar and Johann Louw all got into the 60s in a total of 409 for eight, with Johan Botha and Peterson taking two wickets each.

An uphill task awaits the Warriors over the next two days.

Koortzen boosts Eagles

In Benoni, the Diamond Eagles’ Pieter Koortzen struck his eighth first-class 100 in their SuperSport match against the Titans, being played at Willowmoore Park, possibly to put the log leaders on the way to a third victory in the competition.

When the players walked off the park Koortzen had found the ropes 22 times and cleared them once in an undefeated 207-ball 123 in a stay of just more than five hours. Keeping the centurion company at the crease was CJ de Villiers on 49.

Their accomplishments ensured the runaway log leaders enjoyed a first-innings lead of 172 runs.

Earlier, Loots Bosman — resuming on his overnight score of 18 — added 37 runs before nudging a Pierre Joubert delivery on to his stumps. But on arriving at the crease he afforded the champions’ attack scant respect, at one stage smiting Ethy Mbhalati for 14 runs in his second over of the day, causing the quickie to be replaced.

The opener had struck seven fours and one enormous six launched over cow corner for his half-century, and together with Jacques Rudolph amassed 102 for the second wicket.

The pair’s endeavours had taken them within 110 runs of their hosts’ first-innings total, but if they thought it was all over, they had another thing coming. A flurry of wickets for three runs in three overs saw Boeta Dippenaar (four), Rudolph (53) and Morne van Wyk (two) all tracing their steps back to the dressing room.

The dismissal of what could be considered the bedrock of the Eagles brought together Bailey and Koortzen. The pair dug in and Bailey was particularly mulish, scratching around for 45 minutes to get off the mark.

The shot, when it came, was a majestic cover drive, which sailed effortlessly to the boundary. His next scoring shot came 19 balls later when he and Koortzen ran three.

The twosome’s 100 came off 213 deliveries, but in an effort to dislodge the duo, Titans captain Alfonso Thomas utilised eight bowlers. The strategy eventually succeeded and with the clock ticking down towards the tea interval, Morkel bagged the scalp of Bailey.

The obdurate batsman had struck six fours and one maximum in his 137-ball 47, in a tad more than three hours. But, more importantly, he and Koortzen had amassed 120 for the sixth wicket, which saved the day when the Eagles were struggling on 129 for five.

However, the heroics were not over for the day. A determined partnership of 60 for the seventh wicket between Koortzen and Dillon du Preez saw the pendulum definitely swing in favour of the men from the Free State.

An eighth-wicket stand of 78 reinforced the impression that batting had become easier throughout a glorious day, and this was confirmed as Koortzen and De Villiers survived 16 overs with few scares. — Sapa