January 19, 2001

KwaZulu-Natal take Duckworth-Lewis win over Free State


BLOEMFONTEIN, Jan 19 - Kwazulu-Natal turned this game on its head and in the process almost guaranteed themselves a place in the last for of the Standard Bank Cup with a 12-run win over Free State in Bloemfontein under the Duckworth/Lewis method on Friday night.

Controversy, contention and complication are never too far away when Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis are asked to bring their statistical minds to bear on a weather-affected match, but experience is proving that cricket has discovered a system at least less objectionable than those that went before.

Unless you were a Free State fan at Goodyear Park on Friday, that is. Several scratched heads must have been struggling to come to terms with a target of 152 off 33 overs after Natal had managed just 124 for six and faced four more deliveries when the rain brought an early close to the innings and an early dinner.

But whatever the vagaries of the Duckworth/Lewis method, Free State should still have won this game. As it is they now know their time in the competition is running out. After reaching 102 for one with plenty of overs in hand, the game was theirs for the taking.

The 23rd over proved the pivotal point of the game. Bowled by 26 year-old paceman Jonathan Bastow, it yielded no less than four Free State wickets, a position from which they never recovered. There was no hat-trick, but figures of 6-26 were comfortably a career-best for Bastow.