South Africa domestic round-up

Warriors edge Titans in thriller

Telford Vice

December 15, 2007

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SuperSport Series



Martin van Jaarsveld in action during the first innings in Centurion. He propped up his side in both innings © Cricinfo / Keith Lane
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All three matches were done and dusted on the third day, a comment not so much on the state of the pitches they were played on as it was on the quality of the batting and bowling on show.

The Warriors held their nerve to beat the Titans by one wicket in Centurion. Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Sinethemba Mjekula shared eight wickets to snuff out the Titans' first innings for 136, and that was with the help of Martin van Jaarsveld's fighting 84. The visitors' reply of 244 was anchored by Arno Jacobs' 104, a solid three hours of an innings. Legspinner Imran Tahir took 7 for 93, but the rest of the attack failed to apply the requisite pressure and the batsmen were able to breathe relatively easily. van Jaarsveld soon found himself propping up his team's second innings as well, and his 111 was the reason they managed a total of 246.

That left the Warriors the seemingly simple task of scoring 139 to win, but the Titans weren't quite ready to take their beating. They handed Paul Harris the new ball and Tahir was in the thick of it as early as the fifth over. The Warriors reacted warily to this sudden gust of lateral thinking, and the wickets duly started tumbling. Zander de Bruyn looked determined to take the visitors all the way, but when he went for 50 the Warriors were reduced to 108 for 7. They sank to 117 for 9 before No. 8 batsman Juan Theron was joined by the nerveless Mjekula, who faced eight balls for his nought not out. Theron did the rest, smacking his unbeaten 25 off 30 balls and hitting three fours in the process. Tahir took 5 for 61 to finish with 12 for 154.

The Cobras were off the park before lunch on Saturday after beating the Dolphins by an innings and 44 runs in Cape Town. For the first time this season the Cobras' pace attack functioned well as a unit, and they were able to limit the Dolphins to a first innings of 210. Half-centuries by Andrew Puttick, Henry Davids and Ashwell Prince earned the home side a reply of 317. That proved more than enough as the Dolphins crashed to 63 all out in 22.2 overs in their second innings. Monde Zondeki delivered his umpteenth impressive performance this season to take 5 for 26, giving him eight wickets in the match. The win was the Cobras' first Supersport Series success in two seasons.

The Lions remain the only team without a win after the Eagles beat them by 63 runs in Johannesburg. Heinrich le Roux put the home side on top early when he took a career-best 6 for 29 to help dismiss the Eagles for 177. But the Lions failed to capitalise on what should have been an advantage, and they were promptly dismissed for 174. A stand of 50 between Boeta Dippenaar and Ryan McLaren was enough to earn the Eagles a second innings of 163, which left the Lions a target of 167. The home side never looked in with a chance against the Eagles' probing pace bowling, and Dillon du Preez and CJ de Villiers took seven wickets between them to dismiss the Lions for 103. The last five wickets, all taken by either Du Preez or De Villiers, crashed for 22 runs.

Player of the week - Imran Tahir
It isn't often that a bowler will take a dozen wickets and still end up on the losing side, but that was the lot of hapless Titans legspinner Imran Tahir. Lahore-born Tahir showed fine control and a decent googly to scalp his victims. Perhaps he will console himself with the fact that he can add the name of the Titans to a colourful list of teams he has played for: Middlesex, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Redco Pakistan Ltd, the Sui Gas Corporation of Pakistan, and not forgetting the Water and Power Development Authority.

Team Mat Won Lost Tied Draw Aban Pts
Eagles 7 4 1 0 2 0 86.7
Dolphins 7 3 2 0 2 0 70.08
Warriors 7 2 2 0 3 0 63.78
Cape Cobras 7 1 2 0 4 0 53
Titans 7 1 2 0 4 0 46.98
Lions 7 0 2 0 5 0 40.6

Telford Vice is a writer with the MWP media agency in South Africa

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Telford Vice Telford Vice, crash-boom-out left-hand bat, sort-of legspinner, was never sure whether he was a cricket person. He thought he might be when he sidestepped a broken laptop and an utter dearth of experience to cover South Africa's first Test match in 22 years in Barbados in 1992. When he managed to complete Peter Kirsten's biography as well as retain what he calls his sanity, he pondered the question again. Similarly, when he made it through the 2007 World Cup - all of it, including the warm-up matches - his case for belonging to cricket's family felt stronger. But it was only when the World Twenty20 exploded gloriously into his life in 2007 that he knew he actually wanted to be a cricket person. Sort of ...
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