Warriors wilt against Cobras and slip to second place
The Warriors had a forgettable weekend, losing to the Cobras by nine wickets in Paarl to slip to second place in the points table. The Warriors looked far from fighting men - they were tottering at 9 for 4 at one stage - but Arno Jacobs 68 saved their blushes with 68. Only three of the Warriors batsman got to double-figures: Jacobs, Craig Thyssen and Rusty Theron, as they were bowled out for 143. Vernon Philander took 3 for 10 and Francois Plaatjies took 4 for 21.
The Cobras response was also punctuated with wickets. The top six batsmen all made respectable starts, with Justin Ontong top scoring with 69. Theron grabbed 4 for 63 and Makhaya Ntini claimed 3 for 51, as the Cobras were bowled out for 240, a lead of 97. The Warriors, however, were again lacklustre in the second innings and were dismissed for 163. Philander picked up 4 for 40, taking his match total to seven wickets. That left the Cobras needing just 47 to win the match, and they did so comfortably, despite Ntini picking up the wicket of Alistair Gray for just 3.
Remember the Titans? Well, the franchise from Centurion is becoming impossible to forget, as they surged back to the top of the SuperSport Series table, despite a draw against the Eagles in Bloemfontein. Dean Elgar was once again among the runs. His 110, along with 74 from Ryan Bailey and 68 from Morne van Wyk helped the home side reach 404. Titans captain Pierre Joubert took 6 for 89.
The Titans responded to that score with a first-wicket partnership of 118. Jacques Rudolph showed he is still a quality batsman, falling just eight runs short of a double hundred. Heino Kuhn, who partnered Rudolph at the top of the order made 52 while Joubert scored 106. Although the other contributions were meagre, the Titans had an innings lead of 64, after being bowled out for 468. There was a six-wicket haul for an Eagle's bowler too - Gino Vries took the honours.
Rilee Rossouw became the fourth centurion of the match - he notched up 139 in Eagles' second innings. Imran Tahir took 4 for 112, as the Eagles were bowled out for 345, setting the Titans 410 to win. Time was never going to be on the side of a result and the Titans ended on 79 for one. It was a winning draw for the men from Centurion though, with them bouncing back to the No.1 spot, ahead of the Warriors.
In Johannesburg, the Lions were reduced to kittens once again, this time at the hands of the Dolphins. It started promisingly for the home side, as their first innings closed with the Lions on 359. Birthday boy Neil McKenzie made 140 and Stephen Cook chipped in with 63. Pumi Mathsikwe and Friedel de Wet shared six wickets between them, as the Dolphins were bowled out for 353. Imran Khan top scored with 99.
But the hosts were hunted down in their second innings. Quinton Friend took 3 for 49 and Johann Louw 3 for 40, as the Lions crumbled to 226 all out. Jonathan Vandiar's 57, Thami Tsolekile's unbeaten 47 and Zander de Bruyn's 45 were the three prongs of resistance. The Dolphins needed 232 to win and Loots Bosman unbeaten 100 saw them home by five wickets.
Batsman of the week:
There were six centurions to choose from and Bosman's was the only one in a winning cause. His knock was a sign of great promise, particularly since he is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and would have earned him this week's award if it was not for Elgar. The 22-year old recorded his fourth century in five matches. He is now just 29 runs behind the competition's leading scorer, Cook, whose statistics are bolstered by his record-breaking knock. Elgar boasts an average of 82.28 so far this season, and is deservedly batsman of the week.
Bowler of the week:
Players who win matches are always rewarded, so this week Louw gets the title. He took six wickets for the Dolphins in the match against the Lions, but it was his second innings performance that stood out. He removed the Lions opening pair to reduce them to 20 for 2, and dent their chances of posting a decent second innings score. Louw is also top of the rankings with 24 wickets from six matches at an average of 17.91.
Firdose Moonda is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg