/ 8 December 2007

Titans celebrate first win of season

The Titans secured their first victory of this season’s SuperSport cricket series when they defeated the Eagles by 231 runs in their encounter at the Outsurance Oval in Bloemfontein on Saturday. It was also the home side’s first defeat of the series and first loss at home this season. The Eagles have, however, held on to their top spot in the standings of the competition.

The Titans, the defending champions, have had a bad season thus far, but the return of fast-bowler Dale Steyn, for this match, turned things around for them. Steyn continued his excellent early-season form and sent out an early warning to the West Indies, who will be touring South Africa later this month.

Steyn was in devastating form in the match and destroyed the Eagles. He notched up a hat-trick on the third day in the home side’s second innings to help his side to victory.

He grabbed eight wickets in the first innings and another six in the second for match figures of 14/110. It is the third successive match in which Steyn grabbed 10 wickets after 10-wickets hauls in the two Tests against the touring New Zealanders.

The Eagles lost four wickets and Jacques Rudolph before the lunch interval on the third day. Rudolph was bowled on his left arm by Steyn and retired hurt.

The South African seamer grabbed a hat-trick when he dismissed Dean Elgar (14), Morné van Wyk (0) and Ryan Bailey in successive balls.

Elgar was caught behind the stumps by wicketkeeper Heino Kuhn. Titans captain Martin van Jaarsveld caught Van Wyk at second slip off Steyn’s next ball.

Van Jaarsveld then extended his slip cordon to six for his seamer’s hat-trick ball, but they weren’t needed as Steyn uprooted Bailey’s off stump to secure his hat-trick.

Steyn also dismissed Loots Bosman (35) when he trapped him leg before wicket. Bosman was looking in good form, helping the Eagles to a run rate of 5.2 runs an over before being dismissed.

Ryan McLaren (53) scored his 10th first-class half-century and helped the Eagles to 154/9 in their second innings after they stumbled to 89 all out in their first innings. — Sapa