De Villiers makes 5 and 32 on return in rain-hit round
Not one of the six teams has yet registered a win after three rounds of the tournament
Three rounds into the Sunfoil Series, the tournament is yet to see a win. All three matches ended in draws and all were rain-affected. Titans gained the most in terms of points and moved up to the top of the table but they were denied an outright win over Warriors by the weather and a fighting half-century from Yaseen Vallie.
Having piled up 321 in the first innings, Titans claimed a first-innings lead of 60 and they rapidly scored 220 for 6 in the second innings to set Warriors a target of 281 on the final day. Pace-bowler Migael Pretorius struck with wickets off successive deliveries in the second over of Warriors' chase and the batting side soon found themselves 91 for 6. Vallie and Sisanda Magala kept Titans at bay with a half-century stand for the seventh wicket before bad light forced players off the field.
Drizzle, bad light and wet outfield all meant that only a little more than two days of play were possible in the match between Lions and Dolphins. Lions batted first and posted 277 for 7 declared with half-centuries from Willem Mulder (70*) and Rassie van der Dussen (75). In response, Dolphins lost six wickets for 185 runs, with Aaron Phangiso taking 3 for 59. Knights, who had a slender lead at the top of the table at the start of this round, saw the final day of their match against Cape Cobras washed away. Both teams, however, had impressive batting innings. Knights' first-innings score of 489 for 5 declared was set up by wicketkeeper Rudi Second's unbeaten 203, and Cape Cobras almost matched that with a string of fifties from their middle-order batsmen.
Prior to turning out for Knights in this round, AB de Villiers' last first-class match was the home Test against England in January last year. His long-awaited return to the first-class format began with a run-a-ball 5 Titans' first innings but in the second, he scored a rapid 32 - off 27 deliveries with five fors - to help Titans rack up runs quickly in a bid to push for a result. David Miller, playing his third match of the tournament, contributed to Knights' hefty score with a measured 67 off 137 deliveries.
Mulder, the 19-year-old allrounder, has been one of the more consistent performers after three rounds in the tournament. He made his third successive fifty-plus score, his 70 against Dolphins following scores of 79 and 127 not out in the first two rounds.
After three matches, Knights' wicketkeeper Second averages a whopping 387 runs. His three innings so far: 101 not out, 83 and 203 not out. The double-century against Cape Cobras came off just 231 balls and the innings puts him ahead of Titans' Heinrich Klaasen in the race for the back-up wicketkeeper's spot in the national side. Klaasen ended this round with scores of 133 and 23 against Warriors. On his return to Warriors after a county stint, Simon Harmer ended with match returns of 8 for 183 against Titans. The haul seemed an extension of the stunning summer he had with Essex: he took 72 wickets to finish as the second-highest wicket-taker for the side, and in the tournament, to help the county claim the Championship Trophy for the first time in 25 years.