Titans slayed by all-round Dolphins
Dolphins took 13 wickets on the third day, following up two days of dominant batting, to effect a crushing innings-and-247 run victory over Titans in Durban. Following on after being dismissed for 167 in reply to Dolphins' 548 for 6, Titans were pegged back by Kyle Abbott and Calvin Savage, who shared eight wickets between them, and they ultimately collapsed to 134 all out within 52 overs of the day's play.
The win was first set up by centuries from Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Cody Chetty, and fifties by four other batsmen. After the first wicket, which fell in the fourth over, only one of the ensuing stands was worth less than 90 runs. When captain and wicketkeeper Daryn Smit fell in the second half of the following day for 58, the innings was declared to put an end to the 145.5-over trauma for Titans. But their agony continued.
An all-round bowling effort, led by Craig Alexander and Savage, who destroyed the middle and lower order together, reduced Titans to 156 for 7 at the end of the day. There was no way back for them from that position, and on the third day, they were forced to follow on.
Their batting also crumbled quickly in the second innings. At 60 for 6, they were in danger of getting bowled out well within 100. But rearguard resistance from Roelof van der Merwe, who scored 54 off 44 deliveries, delayed the big defeat for his side.
Cape Cobras crushed Warriors by an innings and 50 runs in East London following a career-best performance by pace bowler Johann Louw. It hardly symbolised a top-of-the-table clash as Cobras completed their fourth win in the Sunfoil Series inside two days, stretching the lead over Warriors to 23.96 points.
Put into bat after a delayed start on the first day, the Warriors batted less than three hours to be bowled out for 107 runs. Left-arm fast bowler Beuran Hendricks took five wickets in just 7.4 overs while Louw picked up three. Apart from a 45-run partnership between the Warriors openers Michael Price and captain Davy Jacobs, the rest collapsed cheaply.
Cobras also slipped to 99 for 4, but a 58-run fifth wicket stand between Justin Ontong and Qaasim Adams helped them extend the lead early. Ontong batted till the very end, staying unbeaten on 90 off 111 balls with the help of 13 boundaries, as Cobras made 241.
Trailing by 134 runs in the second innings, the Warriors would have wanted to play it safe but openers Price and Jacobs fell for ducks before Louw took charge almost completely. He picked up 7 for 42, his best bowling figures in a first-class innings, and it gave him his best performance in a first-class match as well.
Lions and Knights drew their match in Potchefstroom, with Lions securing a first-innings lead courtesy fast bowler Garnett Kruger's first-innings six-for. In their second innings, Lions' Temba Bavuma hit 132, allowing them to declare and set Knights a target of 369. Knights got to 187 for 3, before the two captains agreed to call the game off at tea on the final day.
Knights chose to field, and were kept in the field for 99 overs, as seven of Lions top eight got into double digits. Young opener Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie and Zander de Bruyn, all scored half-centuries, but no one could kick on to a hundred - de Kock's 85 was the top score. New-ball bowler Johan van der Wath was the most effective for Knights, taking the 21st five-wicket haul of his first-call career.
Knights' innings followed a similar path, with three batsmen getting to half-centuries but not to a hundred - for them, Rilee Rossouw's 97 was the best - but Kruger's plentiful strikes meant they could not secure the lead, ending 55 short of Lions' 348.
In Lions' second gig, Bavuma's century was the cornerstone. His 132 came at a strike-rate of close to 70 - he hit 20 fours in the knock - and he was the seventh man out before Lions declared on 313 for 8.
Knights looked in some trouble in the chase, being reduced to 65 for 3, but an unbroken 122-run stand between Michael Erlank and Obus Pienaar took them to the relative safety of a draw.