/ 12 November 2007

Louw shines in weekend cricket action

Dolphins all-rounder Johann Louw upstaged his international teammates to give the KwaZulu-Natal side a welcome boost with a crushing 10-wicket win over the Warriors in their Supersport Series cricket match in East London this weekend.

In a team that had internationals Shaun Pollock (South Africa) and Liam Plunkett (England) as the headline bowlers, it was the persistent Louw who produced the performance of the match.

From the moment he took three wickets in his opening spell on Friday morning, to reduce the Warriors to 18 for four, Louw gave the Dolphins a stranglehold on the encounter they never relinquished.

The nagging seamer claimed six for 45 and five for 47 in his best first-class performance and then, for good measure, cracked 76 in the Dolphins’ first innings.

It was a weekend of consistent performances by the Dolphins because most of the bowlers contributed, while five batsmen hit half-centuries in their first innings of 462, the top score being Doug Watson’s 97. It was enough for them to crush the home side by 10 wickets with several hours remaining.

The result also gave the Dolphins their second win of the season and pushed them to second spot on the log, three points behind the Diamond Eagles.

Thanks to Pieter Koortzen’s superb 158, the Diamond Eagles took a healthy first-innings lead of 235 over the Titans in Benoni, but they were then held at bay by a fantastic knock of 151 off 157 balls by Albie Morkel.

Morkel’s effort followed good starts by Maurice Aronstam (86) and Faf du Plessis (74) and saw the Titans slightly better the Eagles’ first innings of 450. It left the Eagles with 228 needed for victory but too little time in which to get them, and play was called off when they had reached 28 for two.

The Eagles’ new-ball bowler Dillon du Preez continued his superb form this summer, capturing a career-best seven for 108 in the Titans’ second innings to take his tally to 24 wickets after three matches.

In Paarl, lack of time also proved the important factor as the Lions, chasing 266 for victory in 57 overs, reached 194 for five in their second innings.

Good news for them, though, was the form of England paceman Steve Harmison, who picked up nine wickets in the match, while fellow paceman Friedel de Wet collected five.

Opener Alviro Petersen had an excellent match for the Lions, hitting 102 and 95, while the Cobras will be happy with paceman Monde Zondeki’s progress. He took seven wickets in the match to take his haul for the season to 19.

The two teams, however, along with Titans, still prop up the bottom half of the log and will be searching for that elusive win when the fourth round starts on Thursday. — Sapa