Nicky Boje was the hero with an unbeaten 81 to help the Eagles to avoid defeat in a thrilling confrontation with the Warriors at Port Elizabeth on Sunday. The Eagles captain held firm to help his side finish on 193 for 9. Somehow they survived for the draw after having been 88 for 6 at tea. Johan van der Wath lent welcome support to Boje, and Thandi Tshabalala survived three balls to finish unbeaten on nought but the Warriors just could not find the final wicket. They had been in control of the match from the start, with Colin Ingram and Johan Botha making 107 for the first wicket. Centuries from HD Ackerman and Arno Jacobs, who put together a stand of 219 in 65 overs, a Warriors record for the fourth wicket, enabled them to post a formidable 439, with young Tshabalala claiming a career-best 5 for 68. Despite 95 from Ryan Bailey and 51 from Boje, the Eagles could manage only 289, with Botha claiming 4 for 64, meaning that they conceded a first-innings deficit of 150. van der Wath led an Eagles rally, his 4 for 27 helping to limit the Warriors to 100 for 9 declared, but they were stuttering well short of their target of 251 before Boje took charge.
The Dolphins produced a clinical allround display to dismantle the Cobras by an innings and 34 runs at Newlands on Sunday. Five-wickets from the young leg-spinner Tyron Pillay were instrumental in the Cobras' second-innings subsidence, falling alarmingly from 91 for 4 at lunch to 139 all out. The Cobras had declared on 326 for 8 in their first innings, with Andrew Puttick making 91, after half of the first day's play was lost to rain. They were made to look foolish though when the Dolphins recovered from 179 for 4 to post 499, with Lance Klusener scoring 121 and further half-centuries for Doug Watson, Johann Louw, Kyle Smit and the captain Ahmed Amla. It was a typically blistering innings from Klusener, who had earlier taken 3 for 86, occupying just 166 balls and containing 16 fours and two sixes. Louw coaxed valuable runs from the tail after his dismissal and the Dolphins opened up a lead of 173. With just over a day to knock over the Cobras the result never looked in doubt after Pillay had bowled Ashwell Prince before lunch.
Paul Harris spun the Titans to a 114-run victory over the Lions at Benoni on Sunday. Harris claimed 5 for 81 to dismiss the Lions for 232 in their second innings, despite a battling unbeaten 54 from Shane Burger. Earlier G Toyana anchored the Titans' first innings score of 303 with his unbeaten 91, and four wickets from Albie Morkel helped to limit the Lions to 233, with Justin Ontong scoring 83, to help the Titans gain a 70-run first innings advantage. Gulam Bodi's 88 in their second innings 276 enabled them to set the Lions an unrealistic target of 347, and Harris soon made victory a formality.
SAA Provincial ChallengeNortherns recorded a 9-wicket victory, completely outclassing Limpopo at Duiwelskloof on Saturday. Only three batsmen reached double figures in Limpopo's first-innings 124, with Neil Wagner and Maurice Aronstam claiming four wickets apiece. Aronstam then continued his recent good form, scoring 95 to provide the backbone of Northerns' 383, and youngsters Aaron Phangiso and Abram Ndlovu also scored half-centuries. Limpopo improved in their second innings mustering 259, Aronstam again impressive taking four more wickets, but this left Northerns with a meagre one-run target. The dismissal of Francis Nkuna to the third ball of the innings provided amusement but no threat to Northerns' supremacy.
SAA Provincial Cup
Limpopo exacted revenge for their SAA Provincial Challenge thrashing the previous day recording a 21-run win over Northerns at Duiwelskloof on Sunday. Pieter Haasbroek and Hendrik Holtzhausen hit half-centuries at different ends of the innings to help Limpopo post 249, and a great team performance in the field limited Northerns to 228 in reply, despite an entertaining 56-ball 68 from Roelof van der Merwe.
Sam Collins is a freelance journalist based in London