November 23, 2000

EP quicks blow away Eagles

Andy Colquhoun

The Jumbos romped to a 50-run victory over the Free State Eagles on Wednesday after a devastating opening spell from their new ball bowlers.

Mfuneko Ngam and Justin Kemp took two wickets apiece as the Eagles were reduced to 11 for four before the end of the ninth over.

Ngam underlined the good impression he made on the SA A team tour to the West Indies and since. He bowled full, fast and straight and it was these virtues that gave him the scalps of Boeta Dippenaar - LBW to a yorker - and of Kosie Venter who was bowled.

With Kemp taking the scalps of Test players Nicky Boje and Gerry Liebenberg the stuffing had been knocked out of the Eagles' innings.

What made the performance all the more commendable was the fact that the Jumbos bowling attack was without Garnett Kruger, Mornantau Hayward and Meyrick Pringle.

Louis Wilkinson (51) and Wiaan Smit (45) made a brave attempt at a repair job with a 90-run partnership, but as the first 50 of the innings took 22 overs to arrive, the fact that the second came in less than ten still left them behind the eight-ball.

The pressure of the run-chase told on Smit who was bowled by Graham Hayward as he attempted to pull across the line of a straight ball.

His partner reached his half-century shortly afterwards in 73 balls but he too decided his arm had to be chanced. He chose the first over back from Kemp to attempt it and as he went for the aerial route could do no more than chip to midwicket where Ngam took the catch.

Gerard Brophy had thrashed 23 in as many balls in company with Wilkinson but when he was run out at the non-striker's end in a mix-up with Herman Bakkes, the game was up.

EP's total of 217 for eight was built around a second wicket partnership of 74 in 15 overs between Carl Bradfield (40) and Robin Peterson, the slow left-armer, who was promoted to number three in the order.

It paid off perfectly as Peterson scored 61 in 49 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes to blast his side to a commanding position 101 for one before Bradfield fell to Boje.

Still, EP looked set for an impressive total but wickets fell regularly against good Free State bowling and in the end it was James Bryant's 56 from 70 balls which held the innings together.