du Plessis guides Titans to unlikely victory
SuperSport SeriesFef du Plessis' 103 guided the Titans to a remarkable four-wicket win over the Warriors at Centurion. The Titans were set a target of 261 for victory, and du Plessis' innings underpinned a remarkable turnaround after the Titans had trailed by 153 runs on first innings. Arno Jacobs (70) and Murray Goodwin (77) set the Warriors on their way to their first innings 348 with a stand of 123 for the fifth wicket. Lyall Meyer then scored a career-best 72* from number nine, coaxing Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Mario Olivier to stay with him.
The Titans' reply was a sorry affair, save for an extraordinary innings from Justin Kemp. None of the top six reached double figures, decimated by a spell of 5 for 45 by Tsotsobe. Kemp, however, seemingly oblivious to what had gone before him, struck an unbeaten 100 from 106 balls. He received valuable support along the way from Morne Morkel and Ethy Mbhalati, who scored 15 in a last-wicket stand of 69. If Kemp was the star with the bat, Alfonso Thomas was the hero in the Warriors second innings, claiming 5 for 50 as they were dismissed for 105.
Morne Morkel also claimed 3 for 23, and they did not show the Warriors any mercy, bundling them out in just 31 overs. The Titans were left with 261 needed for victory, and lost Heino Kuhn with the score on 32. Gulam Bodi followed seven overs later but du Plessis ensured there would be no collapse in a partnership of 110 with Martin van Jaarsveld. du Plessis finally went with 23 still needed but he had given his team the platform for a memorable victory.
Centuries from Justin Ontong and captain Neil McKenzie laid the foundations for an innings-victory for the Lions against the Cobras at Newlands. The Lions posted 508 in the first innings and then bowled the Cobras out for 215 and 128 to record a convincing win.
McKenzie chose to bat after winning the toss, and proceeded to put on 265 for the third wicket with Ontong after Steven Cook and Alviro Petersen had departed early on. Ontong finished with 155 from 334 balls, while McKenzie scored 135 from 276, with Vaughn van Jaarsveld contributing 54. Monde Zondeki took 4 for 82 for the Cobras, who got off to the worst possible start in their reply when Derrin Bassage was run out by Ontong from the second ball of the innings. Several of the top-order could not convert starts into meaningful scores, and in the end they were grateful to the powerful Rory Kleinveldt, whose 46-ball 63 lifted them over the 200-mark.
Kleinveldt shared a stand of 66 in 6.4 overs for the last-wicket with Charl Willoughby (32* from 18 balls) before he was finally removed by Claude Henderson, who finished with impressive figures of 6 for 87. With the Cobras still 293 behind the Lions were quick to enforce the follow-on, and quickly struck again when Andy Puttick was caught by Petersen off the bowling of Friedel de Wet in the third over. Bassage and Benjamin Hector looked to be repairing the damage in a stand of 50 for the second-wicket, but when Bassage fell to Claude Henderson it triggered a loss of seven wickets for 35 runs to leave the Cobras as good as buried at 91 for 8. Paul Adams hit a late 30, but the day belonged to the Lions. Tyron Henderson took 5 for 37, while Claude Henderson claimed a four second-innings scalps to finish with match figures of 10 for 127.
A century from Boeta Dippenaar and career-best figures for Ryan McLaren helped the Eagles to an innings-and-119-run victory over the Dolphins at Bloemfontein. Dippenaar overcame the pain of his omission from the national squad, putting on 165 for the fourth wicket with Morne van Wyk (88), before he was out for 135. Captain Nicky Boje scored an unbeaten 80 and McLaren contributed 53 not out as the Eagles declared on 500 for 5. Doug Watson and Imraan Khan put on 66 for the first-wicket for the Dolphins, but Khan's dismissal for 34 started the rot.
Six wickets went down for 39 runs, and despite a rally from Ahmed Amla and Lance Klusener, they were all out for 170, with McLaren claiming 5 for 57. With the Dolphins still 330 behind the Eagles enforced the follow-on and McLaren soon had them in trouble again, dismissing Watson and Khan within the first nine overs. Amla again tried to lift his side, but after he was dismissed with the score on 60 it seemed any hope had gone. Jon Kent and Duncan Brown fought hard in a stand of 86 but they were only delaying the inevitable. Eventually the Dolphins' resistance wore out and they were dismissed for 211, with McLaren's 4 for 59 giving him match figures of 9 for 116.
SAA Provincial ChallengeNorth West beat Easterns by 44 runs at Benoni in another match that saw a dramatic turnaround. North West had trailed by 73 on first innings after Jaco Booysen's 103 helped Easterns to 243 in their first innings in reply to North West's 170. However, a career-best 103 from Niel Bedenkamp, to add to his first-innings 57, lifted North West to 290 second time around. Patrick Letseleme then claimed 4 for 28 to clean up Easterns tail in a second innings that saw them dismissed for 173 and fall to a 44-run defeat.
The match between Griqualand West and Free State petered out into a draw at Kimberley. Adrain McLaren scored 92 to give Griqualand West a 133 run first-innings advantage, helping them to 336 in reply to Free State's 203. Any hopes for Griqualand that they might be able to force a result were ended by 127 from Jonathan Beukes and 99 from Divan van Wyk, younger brother of Morne, taking Free State to 413 all out in their second innings. The target of 280 from 43 overs was unlikely, and Griqualand closed on 144 for 3.
SAA Provincial CupKobus Pienaar hit 58 from 44 balls to help Easterns to a 5-wicket victory over North West with 62 balls remaining at Benoni. Andre Seymour's undefeated 69 anchored the innings to help chase down the target of 202 with ease. Jonker scored an unbeaten 94 in North West's innings but received little support from his team-mates.
An unbroken partnership of 109 between Divan van Wyk and Dean Elgar took Free State to a seven-wicket victory over Griqualand West with 23-balls remaining at Kimberley. Van Wyk scored an unbeaten 80, while Dale Bossenger can count himself unlucky to have finished on the losing side after he hit an undefeated 111 in Griqualand West's 234.
Sam Collins is a freelance journalist based in London