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February 15, 2009
Herschelle Gibbs scored a quickfire 92, laced with seven fours and four sixes, off 57 balls to help the Cobras beat the Dolphins by 38 runs in a rain-affected semi-final in Durban. The teams are now tied 1-1 in the best-of-three semi-final and face off again at the same venue on February 18.
Openers Graeme Smith and Gibbs gave the Cobras a sound start after being asked to bat, adding 66 in seven overs. The Cobras, though, lost two quick wickets. Medium-pacer Johann Louw broke the opening stand by dismissing Smith for 33, and Yusuf Abdulla trapped JP Duminy lbw for a duck. Gibbs was then involved in two productive partnerships, adding 74 with Justin Ontong and 41 with Vernon Philander to take the Cobras to 192.
The Dolphins started poorly, losing Sanath Jayasuirya in the first over, caught by Philander off Rory Kleinveldt for a duck. Hashim Amla and opener Hylton Ackerman helped their team recover with a 38-run second-wicket stand but former international Roger Telemachus and left-arm spinner Claude Henderson took two wickets each to leave the Dolphins reeling at 59 for 5. Rain ruled out the possibility of further play, and according to the Duckworth/Lewis method, the Dolphins, with half their side dismissed, should have scored 98 at the end of the ninth over for a win.
The second leg of the semi-final between the Warriors and the Eagles in Port Elizabeth was marred by rain, with only eight balls possible in the Eagles' chase of 118. Cornelius de Villers, the fast bowler, took 4 for 14 to restrict Warriors to a gettable score. de Villers struck early after the Eagles opted to field, removing opener Justin Kreusch with the score on 9. Robin Peterson and Arno Jacobs then departed in quick succession after adding 30 for the second wicket. Ryan Mclaren and offspinner Thandi Tshabalala followed up on de Villers' early breakthrough, keeping the pressure on the Warriors. Ashwell Prince held firm with a determined 40, but received little support from the rest of the batting line-up. The Warriors lost their last five wickets for nine runs in under two overs, with de Villers running through the lower middle-order.
In reply, the Eagles were 2 for no loss before rain played spoilsport. The two teams will be involved in a replay tomorrow at the same venue. The Eagles lead the best-of-three contest 1-0.
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