Dolphins and Eagles ease to victories
Quinton Friend and Johann Louw bowled the Dolphins to a seven-wicket win against the Titans at Durban as they bounced back from their opening-week defeat against the Eagles. Friends' 5 for 30 set the ball rolling as the Titans fell away for 147 after the opening day had been washed out. Imran Khan (80) and Hashim Amla (59), fresh from his tour of Pakistan, added 108 for the second wicket as the Dolphins moved into the lead just one down. Then the innings fell away with the last nine wickets falling for 117 as Imran Tahir, the legspinner who had a short stint with Yorkshire this year, worked his way through the middle order. But a 130-run lead was significant in the conditions and Louw kept the pressure on the Titans throughout their second innings. The top score was Brendon Reddy's 38 as wickets fell steadily, Louw revelling in bowler-friendly conditions with 6 for 88. Chasing 111, the Dolphins had few problems as Khan completed a fine match with an unbeaten 45.
The Eagles continued their flying start to the season with their second consecutive victory, a 113-run win against the Lions at Kimberley, and were spearheaded by the prolific form of seamer Dillon du Preez. He claimed match figures of 10 for 112, his most dramatic intervention coming as the Lions crashed to 48 for 7 in their first innings after the Eagles had struggled to 199 with Craig Alexander, the former South Africa Under-19 fast bowler, taking his first five-wicket haul. Neither first innings produced a half-century, but the defining knock of the match then came from Boeta Dippenaar who ground out a 289-ball 153. He added 102 with Ryan McLaren to set the Lions a huge target of 441. Although they battled hard for more than 130 overs it was a futile effort as du Preez led the attack with 33 overs. The key wicket, though, came from a stunning piece of fielding from McLaren as his direct hit accounted for Neil McKenzie, on 54 at the time, moments before lunch on the final day and with him the Lions' last real hope.
Bowlers dominated at Port Elizabeth where the Warriors came out on top against the Cape Cobras by six wickets. The visitors were on the back foot from the start as they fell in a heap for 110 with Nantie Hayward and Lonwabo Tsotsobe sharing seven wickets. For Tsotsobe it was another eye-catching display after his career-best 7 for 39 in the opening round of matches and he has a chance to impress the national selectors after being named to face New Zealand in a tour match this week. Success for the batsmen was limited, but Arno Jacobs hammered an aggressive 93 to build an imposing lead of 173. Andrew Puttick replied with a marathon 92 off 212 balls and at 134 for 1, with Gerhard Strydom on 65, the match wasn't gone from the Cobras. However, the combination of Hayward's pace and Robin Peterson's left-arm spin proved too much for the middle order. Still, chasing down 95 didn't come without a scare for the Warriors as Monde Zondeki ripped into the top order to leave them 26 for 4. It took a counter-attacking stand of 72 between the two Jacobs - Arno and Davey - to seal the result.
Player of the week - Dillon du Preez
The Eagles have flown into an early lead at the top of the SuperSport table after victories in their opening two matches. Dillon du Preez, the 26-year-old quick bowler, has played a major role in their early success with 17 wickets, and his impressive form brought a maiden 10-wicket match haul against the Lions. The key spell came at the start of the Lions' first innings, with the Eagles needing early wickets after struggling to 199. du Preez, swinging the ball at pace, quickly put that total into perspective as he removed Stephen Cook and Alviro Petersen in his second over and soon added Blake Snijman. His 6 for 40 were career-best figures and there was more to come in the second innings.
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