Prince thwarts his former team
Ashwell Prince's unbeaten 72 helped guide the Warriors to a fighting draw against the his former team Cape Cobras at Paarl. Prince battled for more than four-and-a-half hours on the final day after his team appeared to be slipping to defeat at 87 for 5 after being set 268. However, Prince couldn't do it alone and found stubborn support from Justin Kreusch, who used up 75 balls for his 18, and latterly Wayne Parnell with a 48-ball 11 to help see out the match. Claude Henderson and Charl Langeveldt were shaping as the match-winners with three wickets each, but struggled to breakthrough in the final session. Andrew Puttick's first-day 105 set up the Cobras' strong position as they ground their way to 340 in 135 overs. Francois Plaatjies then claimed a career-best 4 for 59 to earn the Cobras a lead of 77. They batted slightly more positively in their second innings, but didn't declare until into the final morning. If that time had been given to the bowlers, the outcome could have been different.
A slow contest between the Dolphins and the Eagles, also hit by poor weather, briefly came to life on the final day at Durban but still ended in the draw that appeared likely from the monent the Eagles scored at 2.5 runs-per-over in their first innings. During an opening session on the last morning, the Dolphins were bowled out for 275, a deficit of 145. However, their new-ball attack of Quinton Friend and Ugasen Govender reduced the Eagles to 6 for 4. The visitors then declared at 26 for 5, setting the Dolphins 172 in 35 overs. With bad light around, the chase wasn't seriously attempted, but it at least enlivened the closing stages. Boeta Dippenaar (106) and Ryan Bailey (150) dominated the opening two days with a fourth-wicket stand of 217. "The pitch was very difficult on the first day," Corrie van Zyl, Eagles coach, told the Mercury. "It was slow, with tennis ball bounce, and the ball moved around a lot. Bailey and Dippenaar did very well, in difficult circumstances, to bat us into a position where we could try to win the game. It was only the bad weather that prevented that from happening."
Faf du Plessis's career-best 176 was the highlight of a weather-interrupted clash between the Titans and the Lions at Centurion Park. du Plessis cracked 27 fours and two sixes in his 243-ball innings after the Titans wobbled on 71 for 4. He added 156 with Pierre Joubert (61) before being caught at long off, but the runs continued to flow as Paul Harris hit 53. However, regular stoppages for bad light cut into the time available for the Titans to make the most of their strong batting performance. But at 161 for 5 there was an opening for the home side before Werner Coetsee struck an unbeaten 116 to erase any chance of the follow on. During a shortened final day Coetsee added an unbroken 126 for the seventh wicket with Matthew Harris.
Player of the week - Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis showed sparks of his talent during the English season with Lancashire, but his 176 against the Lions confirmed the huge potential that has secured him a three-year deal in county cricket. He is currently maintaining his career in both England and South Africa, playing for Lancashire as a Kolpak, and he has yet to decide which country he wants to try and have an international future with. The player-drain from South Africa is a major issue, and they won't want to lose someone of du Plessis's quality.