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KwaZulu-Natal and Border leads are cut

Wins for North West, Free State, and Western Province in the fourth round of the SuperSport Series - but a tense draw between Easterns and Boland, and a dull one as Pool A KwaZulu-Natal are held by bottom -of-the-table Eastern Province

Wisden Cricinfo staff
After last week's heavy loss, North West came back strongly to beat neighbours Gauteng in the Bull Ring and in so doing moved ahead of both Northerns and Gauteng as round four of the SuperSport Series was completed yesterday.
Career bests from Ryan Bailey (80), James Henderson (143) and Francois van der Merwe (5 for 45), together with another five wicket haul from Garth Roe saw North West winning by 169 runs. First-innings efforts from Derek Crookes (82), back from injury, and Garnett Kruger (5 for 82) was all in vain as Gauteng capitulated in the second innings.
Excitement in Paarl saw Easterns, chasing 100 in 14 overs, nearly hand the game to Boland as they lost the plot, ending on 95 for 9 with a wicket falling on the last ball. Easterns scored 558 for 8 declared in the first innings - taking a first-innings lead of 317 - with Zander de Bruyn following up on his 266* last week with another hundred, and a maiden century from Godfrey Toyana. Following-on, Boland fought back with 416, Gerhard Strydom cracking a career-best 151, and Con de Lange making 109. Easterns' left-arm spinner, Jacob Malao, returned career-best figures of 5 for 50.
Pool A leaders KwaZulu-Natal ended their winning run with a tame draw against bottom of the table Eastern Province. Robin Peterson gave Eastern Province a polished allround performance scoring a hundred and taking 5 for 136 with Doug Watson scoring another hundred and Imran Khan taking 4 for 73 for the visitors.
Free State made light work of neighbours Griqualand West, finishing the game off inside three days, Morne van Wyk scoring 122 and the veteran Allan Donald taking another five-wicket haul.
A hundred for Mark Bruyns, playing his 100th first class game, was not enough for Border as Western Province ran away with a 176 run victory making ground on Border leading Pool B of the table.
Free State beat Griqualand West by an innings and 16 runs. Griqualand West 215 (Bosman 86, van der Wath 4-35) and 195 (Bosman 52, Donald 5/40); Free State 426 (van Wyk 122, Beukes 69, Liebenberg 52).
Eastern Province drew with KwaZulu-Natal. Eastern Province 326 (Bradfield 99, Tucker 67, Khan 4-73) and 281 for 6 dec (Peterson 108, Bryant 69*); KwaZulul-Natal 305 (Watson 134, Brown 84, Benkenstein 64, Peterson 5-136) and 241 for 5 (Benkenstein 73*).
Boland drew with Easterns. Easterns 538 for 8 dec (Z de Bruyn 174, Toyana 113, Hall 89, P de Bruyn 80) and 95/9 (Albertyn 4-29); Boland 241 (Ontong 102, Malao 5-50) and 416 (Strydom 151, de Lange 109, Sanders 57).
Western Province beat Border by 176 runs. Western Province 239 (Puttick 64, Henderson 4-74, Langeveldt 4-61) and 304 (Kirsten 78, Duminy 70, Henderson 4-62); Border 217 (Bruyns 101, Kreusch 59, Telemachus 4-59) and 150 (Henderson 4-59).
North West beat Gauteng by 169 runs. North West 369 (Bailey 80, Rowley 69, Kruger 5-82) and 300 for 4 dec (Henderson 143, Grace 64); Gauteng 375 (Crookes 82, Ackerman 73, Nkwe 51, Roe 5-108) and 125 (van der Merwe 5-45).