In Port Elizabeth, the Lions revived their title hopes with a 94-run win over the Warriors.
The Lions first innings effort of 519 for 8 declared was built on a sturdy middle order performance. Recalled international Alviro Petersen scored 165, Jonathan Vandiar contributed 58, Neil McKenzie 52 , Temba Bavuma 170 and Shane Burger 70. The Warriors seamers were unsuccessful and it was up to left-arm spin of JJ Smuts and offspin of Simon Harmer, who shared seven wickets between them, to do some damage.
Pumelela Matshikwe got an early breakthrough for the Lions, removing Kelly Smuts for a duck but the Warriors also took advantage of favourable batting conditions. Michael Price, JJ Smuts, Ashwell Prince and Arno Jacobs all scored half-centuries but none of them could push on to a three-figure score.
Spin caused the damage again, with Eddie Leie claiming three wickets and Petersen two. The Warriors lost their last six wickets for 18 runs and were bowled out for 340, giving the Lions a lead of 179.
Wickets fell speedily on the third day and the Lions top and middle order were obliterated. They crashed to 20 for 5 but had Bavuma on hand to score a careful 73. The Lions declared on 171 for 8, setting the Warriors a target of 351.
The Lions had enough time to bowl their opposition out, despite being defied. Kelly Smuts’ 100 and Price’s 52 combined for a first-wicket stand of 139. Leie broke the stand and nipped JJ Smuts out for a duck to put the Lions on course for victory.
As in their first innings, the Warriors collapsed spectacularly, losing seven wickets for 48 runs. Chris Morris took four wickets, including a hat-trick. Leie finished with four as well, to take his match total to seven.
The Cape Cobras pulled away from the chasing pack after seven rounds of the SuperSport Series. They drew with the Dolphins , after dominating the match for the most part.
After choosing to bat, the Cobras made the Dolphins bowlers work hard in the Pietermaritzburg sun as their top four piled on 257 runs. There were half centuries for Yaseen Vallie and Justin Ontong and a hundred for Stiaan van Zyl. Robbie Frylinck removed three of the top four in his marathon 56 overs, which yielded four wickets in total.
Johann Louw and Siya Simetu frustrated the Dolphins further with a 52-run eighth wicket stand as the Cobras were bowled out for 432.
In reply, the Dolphins stumbled to 97 for 6. Vaughn van Jaarsveld’s 27 was the highest score from their top six but Cody Chetty’s 46 saved them from total embarrassment. Left-arm spinner Simetu took 3 for 58 and the Dolphins were bowled out for 192, 240 behind.
The Cobras did not enforce the follow-on but opted to bat third on a pitch that is known to crumble later on. Van Zyl and Ontong were among the runs again, the former scoring an unbeaten 77 and the latter 33 not out off 40 balls to hurry the Cobras along as they sought to declare. They did on 160 for 2, setting the Dolphins a target of 401 and giving themselves more than a day to bowl them out.
The Dolphins were more assured in their second knock. Divan van Wyk and Imraan Khan scored 63 and 73 respectively in an opening stand of 149, before both were dismissed with the score unchanged. Simetu then took the wicket of Daryn Smit for 2 to create an opening for the Cobras but van Jaarveld’s 48 and Frylinck’s efforts at the end ensured the Cobras ran out of time. The match ended with the Dolphins 130 runs away from victory with four wickets in hand.