Standard Bank Pro20 round-up

Warriors and Cobras earn semi-final edge

Firdose Moonda

February 28, 2011

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Herschelle Gibbs gets ready to pull, South Africa v England, ICC Champions Trophy, Group B, Centurion, September 27, 2009
Herschelle Gibbs has found his form at the right time © Getty Images
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The Warriors and the Cobras have the advantage after the first leg of the Pro20 semi-finals after both teams won their matches on their home grounds.

In Port Elizabeth, the Warriors restricted the Dolphins to 128 for 5. Rusty Theron and Makhaya Ntini strangled the Dolphins top order, allowing only 18 runs to be scored in the first five overs and with that control from them came frustration for the opposition.

Loots Bosman, Devon Conway and David Miller all fell to Ntini as the Dolphins were reduced to 29 for 3 in the Powerplay. Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Ahmed Amla shared a 63-run fourth wicket stand to keep their team above water. Both scored at more than a run a ball, with Amla hanging around to bring up a half century. Justin Kreusch and Nicky Boje kept a stranglehold during the middle overs to ensure that the Dolphins only posted an average score.

Yasir Arafat gave the visitors an early wicket when he had Ashwell Prince trapped lbw for 5, but he went on to bowl costly overs to concede 41 runs in 23 balls. Although the Dolphins attack, and Jon Kent in particular, kept making dents in the Warriors batting, they needed a little more to defend. Davy Jacobs made 27, Mark Boucher hit 20 and 22 off eight balls from Craig Thyssen saw the Warriors canter to victory with more than over to spare.

The Cobras also had a relatively uneventful chase against the Titans on Sunday, after bowling first and keeping the Titans to 141 for 6. The Titans innings was not a disaster by any description but not one of their batsmen managed anything more than a start. Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids with 20 and 24 respectively laid a good platform but it was only built on slightly. Albie Morkel's 25 off 18 balls added some impetus at the end. Michael Rippon was the only Cobras bowler who conceded less than six runs and over.

Richard Levi and Herschelle Gibbs virtually ended the contest with the first-wicket stand of 72 in seven overs. Half the job was done with plenty of time left. Levi fell to Davids but Owais Shah joined Gibbs with an attitude of equal intent. Roelof van der Merwe was the bowler to suffer as his three overs cost 40. When Gibbs departed, Justin Ontong finished the job with Shah.

The second legs will be played next week in Durban and Centurion.

Bowler of the week: He is rolling back the years with each game, getting better and better as the competition goes on and earns this award for the second week in succession. Makhaya Ntini tore through the Dolphins top order and helped set up the victory for the Warriors.

Batsman of the week: Also a blast from the past, Herschelle Gibbs had yet to produce an innings of authority in this season's campaign but he did it at the right time. His 54 off 42 balls was well paced and as he performed the role of both anchor and the aggressor for his team.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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