Rain once again played its hand in the Standard Bank Cup, as the match between Gauteng and Western Province, played at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, was interrupted, resulting in Duckworth-Lewis adjusting the Western Province target and creating a thrilling finish.
Gauteng 185 for 7 (Crookes 45, Dawson 3-33) beat Western Province 113 for 7 by 4 runs (D/L Method)
Gauteng, after winning the toss and batting, found the going hard as the Western Province bowlers kept a tight reign on proceedings. Runs were hard to come by, and the pressure ensured that wickets fell at regular intervals as the batsmen tried to lift the run-rate. Derek Crookes (45) held the innings together, but once Alan Dawson bowled him the writing was on the wall. Dawson, with 3 for 33, was the pick of the bowlers.
The target of 186 should have been a simple one for Province, but at 30 for 2 after eight overs, rain forced the players off the field. Play was held up for 100 minutes, and the target was reduced to 118 off 22 overs.
Crookes then picked up two vital wickets to shift the pressure on to the Western Province batsmen, as the run-rate required continue to climb. They needed six to win off the last ball of the innings but could only manage a single.
Eastern Province 150 for 7 (Bryant 56*, Bakkes 3-35) beat Free State 149 for 7 (Van Wyk 77*, Louw 4-22) by 3 wickets.
At St George's Park in Port Elizabeth the rain gods smiled on Eastern Province as they came out close winners against Free State.
In a surprise move Eastern Province's regular opening bowlers, Mfuneko Ngam and Mornantau Hayward, only came on as fourth and fifth change bowlers, bowling three overs between them. It was Johann Louw who troubled the Free State batsmen, taking 4 for 22 in his nine overs.
Morne van Wyk stood alone in batting through the innings, scoring 77 not out. A partnership with Gerhardus Liebenberg (26) threatened to flourish, but once Louw bowled Liebenberg, the innings collapsed to 149 for 7.
Eastern Province, looking for the bonus point, made a brisk start to their innings, losing their first wicket in the 10th over with the score on 46. In the chase for runs wickets fell, reducing the home team to 90 for 5, with Free State in sight of a surprise win.
James Bryant, however, played Eastern Province back into the game with a well-controlled half-century, taking the Jumbos to within five runs of the win when a rush of blood cost him his wicket.