A hat-trick from Mark de Stadler, his first, crushed Boland who collapsed to 123 batting second against Western Province at Newlands. Province were put into bat and, with Alistair Gray (108) scoring his second hundred of the season, and James Kuiper (81*) notching his first fifty, moved to a quick 297 in 59 overs. Pepler Sandri took 3 for 67.

In reply, Boland limped along; William Hantam (3 for 29) swept through the top three before De Stadler then destroyed the tail to gain figures of 5 for 42. At the close, Province had scored 2 without loss, and lead by 176 runs.

A second hundred in consecutive matches for Heino Kuhn and a career best maiden hundred for Francois du Plessis saw the opening pair put on 252 as Northerns took the first-day honours against Gauteng in Johannesburg. Electing to bat first Kuhn scored 111 while du Plessis raced away to 156 with 21 boundaries and two sixes as Northerns totalled 397 for 9 declared in the mandatory 85 overs. Ahmed Nawab, despite the onslaught, by far produced his best offspin to date, to take 6 for 106. At the close Gauteng had lost one wicket for 41.

In Durban, the opening attack from KwaZulu-Natal ripped the heart out of Border's batsmen after they were sent in to bat first. Ugasen Govender struck four times while Yusuf Abdulla picked up three wickets with Border declaring on 168 for 9. Steven Pope (29) was one of five batsmen to reach the twenties, but none could capitalise and make a bigger contribution.

Natal started brilliantly, with an opening partnership of 151 between Mark Sanders (103) and Rivash Gobind (46). Burton de Wett took all three Natal wickets to fall, but at the close Natal were well poised at 183 for 3, already holding a lead of 15.

A 147-run partnership between Riel de Kock (84) and Benjamin Hector (71) saw Free State post a total of 240 against North West in Potchefstroom. Goolam Bhayat, taking 3 for 42, came out tops in a good bowling performance from the North West bowlers. In reply North West reached 60 for 2 at the close of play.

Keith Lane works for Cricinfo in South Africa