Lions complete nine-wicket win
Lions won their first match of the SuperSport Series by a nine-wicket margin against Warriors in Johannesburg to move to third on the table. Warriors had four national players in their XI - Wayne Parnell, Colin Ingram, Rusty Theron and Ashwell Prince - but it didn't make much difference against a Lions side that relied on consistency in selection.
After choosing to bat, the Lions top seven, barring Cliffe Deacon, performed impressively. Neil McKenzie occupied the crease for almost seven hours over two days and scored 170. Opener Stephen Cook contributed a half-century and Thami Tsolekile added 75 to push the Lions past 500. Andrew Birch was the most successful Warriors bowler, finishing with 3 for 94, while Ingram and Simon Harmer each picked up two scalps.
The Lions have been criticised for their lack of incisiveness with the ball but they bowled Warriors out for 228, forcing the follow-on. Deacon led the attack with 3 for 31 but was well assisted by the youngsters. Pumelela Matshikwe, who has earned a call up to the South Africa A side, fast bowler Craig Alexander and legspinner Eddie Leie all took two wickets. Ashwell Prince's fighting 78 was the best score for Warriors.
Warriors lost a wicket on the fourth ball of their follow-on, when Deacon had Bevan Bennett out lbw. JJ Smuts and Colin Ingram shared a second-wicket stand of 84, with Smuts going on to score 143 to lead the recovery. Prince was again resilient, with 69, but it was the Warriors tail that proved tricky for the Lions. Wicketkeeper Athenkosi Dyili and Parnell put on 87 for the eighth wicket, with Parnell lending weight to his claims as an allrounder with a fluent 60. Mathsikwe finished with four wickets as the Lions finally bowled the Warriors out for 424, leaving themselves with 142 runs to chase in one session, with 32 overs left in the match.
Petersen and Cook were rarely troubled, and Petersen made a statement about being left out of the Test side by scoring 72. He was dismissed with two runs needed to win and Cook finished things off. Warriors have lost both their first-class matches since returning from the Champions League.
Cape Cobras earned 5.06 points and Dolphins 4.30 from their drawn match at Newlands. Cobras took a slender lead of 21 but the slow run-rate in both teams' first innings meant the match did not progress beyond its third innings.
Cobras put on 337 after they had chosen to bat, the bulk of the runs coming from the middle-order trio of Stiaan van Zyl, Justin Ontong and Alistair Gray. Van Zyl was the innings' top scorer with 86. Cobras, however, began to lose wickets at regular intervals and they slipped from 185 for 2 to 264 for 7. Robert Frylinck was Dolphins' most successful bowler, taking 3 for 78.
Dolphins got off to a poor start in reply and were 32 for 2 before Imraan Khan began to steer the innings with a century. Imraan put on 98 for the third wicket with Devon Conway, who made 51, and then watched three more wickets fall in quick time. Dolphins were struggling at 141 for 5 when Daryn Smit, who scored a patient 50 off 216, added 121 with Imraan. The tail fell quickly, though, and Dolphins were dismissed for 316. Vernon Philander was the best of Cobras' bowlers, taking 4 for 50.
Cobras played 68 overs in their second innings and made 163 for 5 before the game ended in a draw. Justin Ontong made an unbeaten 73.