South Africa domestic round-up

All-round Botha stars for Warriors

Firdose Moonda

October 21, 2009

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The Warriors made up for their lack of match time last week with a convincing performance this week. However, things didn't start well for them as they were bowled out for 174 in their first innings at St Georges Park, with Quinton Friend taking 5 for 28.

Despite a poor showing with the bat, the Warriors' performance in the field was a sight to behold. Lonwabo Tsotsobe claimed the wicket of Loots Bosman with the Dolphins on just 6 and then Makhaya Ntini removed Hashim Amla with the score on 40. Although the pair was both economical and dangerous, it was Rusty Theron who did the bulk of the damage. His 5 for 27 helped bowl the Dolphins out for 147.

Johan Botha came to the Warrriors' rescue in the second innings with a century that took them from 80 for 5 to 254 and set the Dolphins a target of 282. The men from Durban looked on course to win until Hashim Amla was run out for 80. Theron ended the Dolphins innings with three wickets in seven balls early on the fourth morning to hand the Warriors victory by 43 runs and send them to the top of the table after two completed rounds.

That was the only match in the SuperSport series but there were two clashes in the amateur division. Five wicket-hauls from Namibia's Zimbabwean-born Norbert Manyande and Griqualand West's Charl Pietersen meant Namibia held a three-run lead after the first innings. Griquas scored 288 for 5 declared with Frikkie Holtzhausen scoring 93 while opening the batting and Pietersen notching up 99. Raymond van Schoor and Gerrit Rudoph put on 133 for the first wicket but none of the other batsmen really contributed. The match could have gone either way with Namibia ending 245 for 8, leaving them 41 runs short of the winning target of 286. Namibia took away more points and now lie second on the log, 9.82 points behind Western Province.

Namibia's batting failed them in the one-day match, with only Louis van der Westhuizen scoring a half-century. They were bundled out for 150 in the 34th over. Griquas made hard work of chasing, slumping to 92 for five, but Petersen's unbeaten 43 helped them to a three-wicket win. Western Province staged a stunning comeback against South Western Districts (SWD) to beat them by five wickets in their three-day match. Sammy-Joe Avontuur's century took SWD to 280 for 8 before their enforced declaration. None of the Province batsmen reached three figures as they totaled 236 for 9, a deficit of 44 runs.

Abdul Temoor's 5 for 31 led the fightback from the men from Cape Town as they bowled SWD out for 228 in their second innings, leaving Western Province a target of 273. Alistair Gray's 123 saw Western Province march to victory and Gray to the top of the first-class batting rankings. He has leapfrogged Dean Elgar, who was off duty for the past two weeks with the Eagles being at the Champions League Twenty20. In four matches, Gray has scored 322 runs at an average of 53.66.

The one-day match between the two sides was a thriller. Half-centuries from Burton de Wett, Gerhard Strydom and Roelof Hugo took SWD to 247 for 6 in their 40 overs. Western Province's reply was well on track with an 82-run first-wicket stand and 68 from 40 balls from Romano Roboo at No.5. The hosts struggled with the run rate throughout but with wickets in hand, the task never looked impossible. They finished on 245 for 7, losing by just two runs.

Batsman of the week:
Botha has been threatening to emerge as a genuine allrounder in recent weeks. He scored 88 against the Lions in the first week of October but this week he came full circle. He notched up three figures for the first time in a first-class match and helped the Warriors set the Dolphins a target that was just too far out of their reach. Botha's average now sits at a healthy 33.48 and he may be starting to challenge for a place in the Test squad ahead of Paul Harris.

Bowler of the week:
Friend and Theron share the award this week. Friend took nine wickets for the Dolphins. He dismissed both the Warriors' openers in both innings, gobbled up in the tail in their first innings and dismantled the middle order in the Warriors second innings. Theron removed Hashim Amla, Ahmed Amla, Friend, Andrew Hall and Daryn Smit in the Dolphins' first innings - all dangerous batsmen. It was Theron's heroics on the final morning that earned a place among the players of the weekend. He ended the match clinically and quickly, leaving the Dolphins lower order drowning.

Firdose Moonda is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg

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