Jacques Rudolph’s batting heroics wasn’t enough to save the Nashua Titans on day two of their Sunfoil Series match against the Chevrolet Warriors at Axxess St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The home team finished the day in control, on 105-0 with a lead of 165 runs in the bag thanks to a solid opening stand between Davy Jacobs and Michael Price.
The Titans, who won the toss and decided to field first on day one, had restricted the Warriors to 276 in their first innings, with Ethy Mbhalati being the star of the bowlers when he finished with figures of 21-4-68-4.
But it was the Deen Walters show in Port Elizabeth on day two, with the 26-year-old picking up five wickets, including two wickets off the last two balls of the Titans’ innings, leaving him on a hat-trick when he starts his bowling spell in the next innings.
The visitors wobbled early on, losing two wickets early in the morning session, before Rudolph and Henry Davids paired up for a 67-run partnership. It was Andrew Birch who got the breakthrough, beating Davids and rattling his furniture as the Titans stumbled in their first innings. Rudolph got stuck in, though, and soldiered on to 94 before he was caught by Colin Ingram at point off Walters’s bowling.
With the Titans on 179-5, it was going to be up to David Wiese to support the tailenders and help the Titans get ahead. He had no such luck, though with Roelof van der Merwe, CJ de Villiers and Paul Harris all falling cheaply, contributing just 16 runs between them. Ehty Mbhalati was in next and with the score on 202-8, with the Titans still more than 70 runs behind, the game plan was clear: go out swinging.
A few wild heaves yielded their rewards for Mbhalati, who hammered three fours in two overs, but his luck didn’t last and he was out just 10 balls after walking out to the middle when he was completely beaten by Walters, who picked up his fourth wicket of the innings. Number eleven, Rowan Richards, was out the first ball he faced, leaving Walters on a hat-trick going into the second innings.
Jacobs and Price guided their team to close of play unscathed, with both openers looking solid. Price, despite being knocked down by a Mbhalati bouncer which caused a brief delay, notched up a solid 53 with Jacobs looking steady at the other end on 44.
Report Day 1
CHEVROLET WARRIORS: D Jacobs (capt), M Price, JJ Smuts, A Prince, C Ingram, KR Smuts, A Dyili (wkt), S Harmer, A Birch, B Walters, G Rabie
NASHUA TITANS: H Davids (capt), J Rudolph, T Bodibe, P Malan, C de Villiers, D Wiese, R van der Merwe, H Kuhn (wkt), R Richards, P Harris, E Mbhalati