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December 8, 2008
Eagles regained top spot with an eight-run win over Lions in a rain-curtailed 32-over match in Johannesburg. They were nearly undone by a spectacular assault from Vaughn van Jaarsveld, whose 79-ball 97 reinvigorated Lions after they were stuttering at 67 for 4 after 15 overs chasing 225. Werner Coetsee chipped in with a 10-ball 23 and the pair piled on 55 runs in 4.4 overs before van Jaarsveld was caught behind in the final over to dent Lions' chances. Earlier, measured half-centuries from Morne van Wyk and tournament top-scorer Rilee Rossouw helped Eagles capitalise on the absence of Lions' fast bowlers Andre Nel and Garnett Kruger to set a challenging target.
In the other match of the day, a cautious half-century from captain Justin Ontong and a more cavalier one from Ryan Canning set up Cape Cobras' 24-run victory over Warriors in East London. The pair's efforts lifted Cape Cobras to 220 after their top order had failed to fire. Robin Peterson gave Warriors a cracking start with a 52-ball 55 taking them to 81 for 1 in the 12th over. However, former international Claude Henderson and Ontong took two quick wickets apiece to reduce Warriors to 96 for 5. Johan Botha and Justin Kreusch resisted with a 52-run partnership but another rash of wickets saw them bowled out for 196.
Player of the week - Justin Ontong
Despite several opportunities with the South African national side over the past seven years, Justin Ontong hasn't quite managed to showcase his skills on the international stage, perhaps being most famous for being handed a debut ahead of Jacques Rudolph in 2001 because of the quota system. On the domestic circuit, he piled on the runs last season to earn another South Africa recall. After moving from the Lions to take over as Cape Cobras captain this season, he has led them to two wins in their three games in the MTN championship so far. His patient half-century this week shored up his team's total and he also gave a reminder of his under-used offspinning ability by removing the rampaging Robin Peterson at a crucial juncture.
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