Petersen double sets up Lions victory
The South African domestic season began last week with the opening round of SuperSport Series matches. Cricinfo rounds-up the action from the first three matches
Alviro Petersen led from the front with twin hundreds as the Lions opened their season with a tense 37-run victory against the Warriors at Johannesburg. He hit 131 in the first innings and 120 in the second to leave the visitors a target of 251. They made a brisk start, but slumped to 81 for 4 when Ashwell Prince was caught at third slip off Cliff Deacon for 9, following two wickets in two balls for Garnett Kruger. The middle order fought hard and at 195 for 6 the game was back in the balance when Robin Peterson edged Deacon to the wicketkeeper. Andre Nel then cranked up his pace to remove Wayne Parnell before Deacon shifted the Warrior's last major hope, Justin Kreusch, for 49. Petersen was handed the Man-of-the-Match award after a fine start to his season. His 131 formed more than half the Lions' first innings, as they lost 8 for 75 to fall away to 255. The Warriors battled to an advantage of 61 as Kreusch ended unbeaten on 85, but that was soon wiped off by Petersen. Again, though, the Lions lost their advantage, slipping from 145 for 1 to 272 for 9, before a tenth-wicket stand of 39 between Nel and Kruger. In the final outcome, it proved the difference.
The Eagles launched their SuperSport campaign with an 86-run win against the Cape Cobras in a match dominated by the seamers at Kimberley. Dillon du Preez, fresh from his county season with Leicestershire, claimed match figures of 7 for 76 as the Eagles attack out-bowled a star-studded Cobras line-up that boasted Charl Langeveldt, Monde Zondeki and Vernon Philander. Ryan Bailey's 91, alongside 81 from Boeta Dippenaar, boosted the Eagles to 296 then the Cobras batting was ripped apart. du Preez and CJ de Villiers shared eight wickets as the Cobras collapsed to 79 for 9. Despite a last-wicket stand of 46 they still fell short of the follow-on, but Dippenaar chose not to enforce. He may have been regretting his decision as they staggered to 18 for 4, however Riley Rossouw, the Under-19 batsman, held firm with an unbeaten 63 off 133 balls to lift the lead to 300. The Cobras were always unlikely to reach the highest total of the match and couldn't find anyone to play a major innings. Philander top-scored with 42, but the Eagles wrapped up their win with a day to spare.
Imran Tahir brought his impressive form from the County Championship straight into the South African domestic season, claiming five wickets for the Titans, but their opening match against the Dolphins was severely impacted by the weather at Durban. The final day was washed out after the Dolphins earned a lead of 81, despite losing their top-order to Tahir. He claimed the first five wickets to fall, before Jon Kent (91) and Pierre de Bruyn (73) responded with a sixth-wicket stand of 157. There had also been one main stand in the Titans' innings with Martin van Jaarsveld (58) and Gulam Bodi (62) added 101 after coming together at 13 for 3.
Player of the week - Alviro Petersen
After finishing the tour of England with a 4-0 hammering in the one-day series, South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said it was time to start rebuilding the limited-overs team. Alviro Petersen has had a brief taste of international cricket with five ODIs against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh between 2006 and 2008, and the way he has begun this season another chance may not be far away. The future of some senior batsmen such as Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis is uncertain so, at 27, Petersen is part of the generation Arthur will be looking at. His back-to-back centuries against the Warriors have set a high standard for his season and won't have gone unnoticed.