Standard Bank Cup 2004-05 February 17, 2005

Eagles soar into final

The Eagles confirmed their top-of-the-table finish and headed for the final of the Standard Bank Cup with a convincing six-wicket win over the Lions at Goodyear Park, Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

Winning the toss and batting first on a very good pitch the Lions made a conservative start against some tight bowling from Johannes van der Wath and Cliff Deacon. With the total on 12, at the start of the 6th over, Deacon induced Andrew Hall into an edged drive to be caught by the keeper, Morne van Wyk, for 10. A recovery of 52 runs was halted when Bacher pushed towards Craig Thyssen at mid-on and, calling too late, ran out HD Ackerman, at the bowler's end for 17. Neil McKenzie (6) did not last long - he was beaten by turn and the bounce, pushing forward to Nicky Boje, for Van Wyk to take his second catch. At 73 for 3 the run rate had slipped below four to the over.

Bacher, continuing with the form that he has shown all season, went to his 50 off 81 balls. In trying to up the tempo he then top-edged a short ball from Deon Kruis to Thyssen at squareleg to be well caught for 52, and the Lions in trouble at 95 for 4 in after 27 overs.

Forced into a more defensive mode, Justin Ontong and Vaughn van Jaarsveld put together a vital 50-run 5th wicket partnership, as they consolidated the innings with some excellent running between the wickets. Deacon got the breakthrough when Van Jaarsveld forced a full toss straight at Davey Jacobs at mid-on to be caught for 28, having put on 58 with Ontong.

Ontong brought up his 50 in 54 balls as he increased his rate by improvising well during the final slog overs. A near controversy was alleviated by the television umpire Marais Erasmus when Jacobs at deep midwicket, after dropping and palming the previous ball over the ropes for six, took a good catch millimetres from stepping back on the rope to get rid of Ontong off Roger Telemachus for 73. His final 23 runs had come off just 11 balls.

Ahmed Omar ran himself out for three while Derek Crookes played a little cameo of an innings as he ended undefeated on 21 having helped the Lions to 215 for 7.

The Eagles made a quick start to their innings scoring 52 for the loss of two in the first 10 overs. Loots Bosman was trapped in front by David Terbrugge for seven and he was followed in a similar fashion by Morne van Wyk for 21 off the bowling of Crookes. Jacobs continued the momentum and when he was bowled by Hall for 23 the platform had been set for Boeta Dippenaar and Nicky Boje to pace themselves towards the target.

Boje was caught at point for 60 with just 31 runs needed. He had timed his innings well and was just starting to accelerate when he failed to get over a ball from Bacher.

Dippenaar, in the end, saw the Eagles home and into the final as he finished undefeated on 84 having played the anchor role once Boje came to the wicket.