There were results in all three SuperSport Series matches played this weekend, with the Titans surging to the top of the league with their second victory, a comprehensive 243-run rout of the Lions at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.
Jacques Rudolph added to his already compelling case for national recall with a crisp 210 in the Titans first innings. The 187-run first-wicket stand he shared with Tumelo Bodibe, who was largely a spectator, highlighted the Lions desperation for a strike bowler. They eventually had some joy when veteran Zander de Bruyn had Bodibe trapped lbw and talented youngster Pumelela Matshikwe tucked into the middle order to take five wickets.
While their bowing lacked an element of penetration, their batting lacked intent as they stumbled into early trouble at 53 for 3. Three fighting half-centuries from Jonathan Vandiar, Thami Tsolekile and Cliffie Deacon took them to 306, 100 runs behind the Titans. Rudolph starred again with the bat, his 87 key to building the Titans lead as Mangaliso Mosehle and Henry Davids were out without scoring.
David Wiese's all-round performance started with his 124 off 130 balls as the Titans set the Lions 476 to win the match. Faced with the massive target, the Lions crumbled to 96 for 6. Wiese, Hardus Viljoen and Paul Harris tore through the line-up, with Thami Tsolekile's unbeaten 86 the only resistance.
The Knights also moved on to two wins, as they overcame a 135-run first-innings deficit to beat the Dolphins by four wickets at Kingsmead. After having had the better of the first two days, the Dolphins slipped on the third. They collapsed for 160 in their second innings with Divan van Wyk's 29 the top score. Ryan McLaren and Johan van der Wath picked up three wickets apiece to leave the Knights with 296 to win.
Dean Elgar and Boeta Dippenaar were the stars of the chase. Elgar scored 114 and shared a 93-run opening stand with Reeza Hendricks, and a 112-run partnership for the second wicket with Dippenaar. Those two partnerships ensured the Knights reached the target.
It was a creditable turnaround after the Knights had fallen behind in the first half of the match. They started well, reducing the Dolphins to 125 for 5 on the first day, but Daryn Smits scored 82 and Cameron Delport played a counterattacking innings of 89 off 82 balls. Their 152-run partnership helped the Dolphins reach 338. They confirmed their advantage by bowling the Knights out for 203 on the second day. It could have been worse for the Knights, as they were 10 for 3 at one stage, but captain Morne van Wyk's 78 kept them in the game, and the Dolphins' second-inning collapse turned it in their favour.
Cape Cobras and the Warriors played their first match of the South African domestic season, after returning from the Champions League Twenty20 in India, and it was the Cobras who won by eight wickets at Buffalo Park in East London. In a low-scoring match, Justin Ontong made the only century, and it helped the Cobras take a 74-run first-innings lead. The Warriors, who were bowled out for 216 in their first attempt, managed only 200 in their second, and the Cobras openers did enough to ensure there were no problems in chasing 127.
The Cobras' new-ball pair of Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt took 10 wickets between them in the match; in the first innings Kleinveldt took three and Philander two while it was the reverse in the second innings. Kelly Smuts' 62 was the only significant contribution for the Warriors in their first innings.
Ontong's 105 formed the bulk of the Cobras' 290 in reply, with Justin Kemp's 69 the other important contribution. The Cobras were in a position to take control of the game at 263 for 5 but seamer Andrew Birch sparked a lower-order collapse, finishing with six wickets as the Cobras were kept to 290.
The Warriors batsmen squandered the lifeline Birch handed them, as they folded for 200 in the second innings. The Cobras seemed intent on finishing the match on the third day itself, and did so thanks to Andrew Puttick's 64 and his partnership of 107 from 24.4 overs with Yaseen Vallie (47 off 62).