March 1, 2001

Border recover to post competitive total against Free State

Marcus Prior - MWP

Border recovered well from a potentially precarious 136 for five midway through day one of this Supersport Series Super Eight match to eventually post a total of 308 all out which will at least allow their bowlers to attack the Free State top order when they resume on Friday. Free State faced just the one over, to close on two without loss.

After a good start which saw the visitors reach lunch on 83 for the loss of just Craig Sugden, a double strike shortly after the break from promising Dewald Pretorius, who removed Stephen Pope (14) and Wayne Wilblin (11), put the Eagles very much in control. With Johan van der Wath and Victor Mpitsang also claiming a wicket each, the Bears were being mugged.

However, captain Pieter Strydom (42) has been in magnificent form with the bat this season and he and wicket-keeper Ian Mitchell set about putting the Border house back in order with a sixth-wicket partnership worth 60 at a run-a-minute. Mitchell was beyond criticism in his shot selection, 50 of 58 runs coming in boundaries, which included 11 fours and a six.

With the demise of Strydom and Mitchell, the end appeared nigh for Border, but Vasbert Drakes (30), Geoff Love (22 not out) and Tyron Henderson (20) at nine, ten and jack added 72 runs between them as the Free State attack lost the plot amid a flurry of unorthodox strokeplay.

Pretorius, who finished with figures of 4 for 66, was instrumental in eventually wrapping up the tail, with stand-in wicket-keeper Morne van Wyk picking up five catches in the innings. Van Wyk only donned the gloves for this match after Gerald Brophy's knee failed to respond to treatment.