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January 8, 2012
Cape Cobras held on to their spot at the top of the table with an innings and 54-run win over the Knights in Kimberley.
The feat of the match came from the wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Vilas, who became the first to score more than 150 and make 10 dismissals, all catches, in a first-class match. Vilas was the star of the show as the Knights were skittled out for 218 and 160 in each of their innings.
Between them, the Knights' top three managed two ducks and a score of eight in their first innings, before Boeta Dippenaar's 69 restored some pride. Rory Kleinveldt, who is part of South Africa's one-day squad to play Sri Lanka, led the charge with 5 for 26.
The Cobras fared little better and teetered on 106 for 6 before Vilas arrived at the crease. He combined with Robin Peterson for an eight wicket stand of 257. Peterson was out for 97 but Vilas went on to score the eighth first-class fifty of his career, a pacy 187 off 198 balls, including 23 fours and six sixes.
Stunned by that effort, the Knights fell victim to Justin Kemp, who took 5 for 31, and fell apart. The massive loss was not their only casualty. Batsman Dean Elgar, who received his maiden call-up to the national side for the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka, suffered a knee injury and was ruled out of the match and the international series. The Knights sit mid-table, in third position, a mere 2.66 points behind the Cobras.
Even closer to the Cobras than that, are the Titans, who beat the Warriors by 202 runs in Benoni and are just 0.3 points off the lead. The national selectors would have watched that match with interest as a number of fringe players put their hands up for higher honours.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who was playing in his first competitive match since October, took 4 for 90 as the Titans amassed 393 in their first innings. Faf du Plessis scored 112 and Albie Morkel an unbeaten 127. Wayne Parnell did not have anything pleasing to report as he finished with figures of 0-53 in seven overs and suffered a pinched nerve which kept him out of bowling in the second innings.
Michael Price and JJ Smuts put on 113 for the third-wicket but the Warriors did not have too much other significant resistance and were bowled out for 264. Morkel took 3 for 33 while du Plessis' legspin earned him 4 for 65.
The Titans piled on the runs in the second innings, with Tumelo Bodice scoring 51, du Plessis 57 and Henry Davids 105. They declared on 326 for 6, setting the Warriors an improbable 456 for victory. An already tough task became impossible when the Warriors slumped to 10 for 3 in the fourth over, with Marchant de Lange doing the early damage.
Jon-Jon Smuts defied the Titans for a while, with his 143, but had little support. Morkel picked up another two wickets and du Plessis 4 for 47 to end with eight in the match and give the Titans a comfortable win before lunch on the fourth day.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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