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Wisden Cricinfo staff
March 7, 2004
A convincing win for Western Province takes them above KwaZulu-Natal after the first round of the SuperSport Super Sixes. Elsewhere there was a century in each innings for Graham Grace, but they were in vain as a captain's innings from Dale Benkenstein took KwaZulu-Natal home:
Super Sixes - 4th day
Western Province 554 for 2 dec beat Griqualand West 185 and 183 (Hector 70, Friend 5-34, Dawson 4-37) by an innings and 186 runs
Western Province made light of the absence of five Test players to jump to the top of the table. Their mammoth first-innings score did the trick at Newlands: today it took them only 17.4 overs to reduce Griqualand West from their overnight 128 for 2 to 183 all out. Griquas were soon in trouble when Benjamin Hector went for 70, after nearly two hours at the crease. Quentin Friend wrapped up the innings to end with 5 for 34, while Alan Dawson took his tally for the match to 10 with 4 for 37, which included his 250th wicket in first-class cricket. WP lost just two wickets in winning the match - it was only the sixth time that any side had won a domestic match in South Africa while losing either one or two wickets, and the first since Transvaal (325 for 1 dec) beat Northern Transvaal (97 and 173) by an > innings and 55 runs at Pretoria in 1980-81.
KwaZulu-Natal 227 and 273 for 5 (Benkenstein 102*) beat North West 255 and 242 for 7 dec (Grace 102*, Moleon 66*) by 5 wickets
At Kingsmead Graham Grace added an unbeaten 102 to his first-innings century, the 19th time a batsman has scored twin centuries in South African first-class cricket. He spent seven hours at the crease, and his eighth-wicket partnership of 120 with Eugene Moleon - whose 66 not out was a career-best - enabled North West to make a sporting declaration, setting KwaZulu-Natal 271 in 51 overs. Knowing that Western Province had already overhauled them, Natal took up the challenge and raced to 50 inside eight overs. The rate dropped when three quick wickets tumbled, but Dale Benkenstein played the perfect captain's innings with a near-run-a-ball 102 that took his side to victory with 11 balls to spare. Duncan Brown finished it off with a huge six over long-on, off Garth Roe.
Shield - 3rd day
Easterns 515 for 7 dec lead Eastern Province 358 for 8 (Bradfield 123*, Wingfield 88) by 157 runs
Eastern Province's first target today was to avoid the follow-on, and it is still a close-run thing. The batsmen's paradise at St George's Park produced another century - the third of the match - as Carl Bradfield stroked 18 fours in his 123. Wade Wingfield then took over, and his 88 took EP to the brink of the follow-on target. When bad light stopped play early they were eight runs short, with two wickets left.
Gauteng 194 for 5 dec (Bacher 89, Ackerman 56*) lead Northerns 22 for 2 by 172 runs
After two complete washouts play finally got under way at SuperSport Park on the third morning. Northerns won the toss and put Gauteng in. It seemed that bonus points from the first 100 overs of the first innings were all that was left to play for. Adam Bacher continued his recent good form, scoring a patient 89, while HD Ackerman compiled a useful undefeated 56 to take Gauteng to 194 for 5 before, after 73 overs, bad light interrupted play. On resumption Ackerman sprang a surprise by declaring, and was rewarded with two quick wickets before the light closed in again.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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