Don't write off Ntini just yet
Johann de Jager
Bloemfontein – Don’t write off Makhaya Ntini just yet.
The Mdingi Express (5/26) on Sunday kept alive the Warriors’ prospects of a semi-final spot in the MTN40-series in their clash against the Diamond Eagles.
The visitors won by nine wickets according to the Duckworth-Lewis Method after the Eagles had earlier been dismissed for 223 in the last over of their innings.
Following rain interruption, the Warriors’ winning total in the fifth over (12/1) was adapted to 212 in 36 overs.
After another interruption at 95/1 after 18 overs the visitors had to score 168 off 28 overs for the win.
The Warriors’ Jon-Jon Smuts (75*, 83?balls) and Colin Ingram (80*, 65?b) batted superbly, posting an unbeaten partnership of 163 off just 146 deliveries to get their team on dry ground.
The Eagles have fallen back and with one game left the writing appears on the wall.
The winning of the toss put the Warriors on the front foot early on.
Ntini had the Eagles on the back foot with 2/9 off six overs after the home side had been sent in to bat in the cloudy conditions.
Three batsmen - Boeta Dippenaar (12), Morné van Wyk (14) and Rilee Rossouw (0) – were dismissed with the score on 26.
Ryan Bailey (77, 77b) and Con de Lange (39, 48b) consolidated and Adrian McLaren gave the innings further momentum when the sun was still shining.
McLaren (49, 33b) was unlucky not to get a third straight half-century. He was caught at point with the first delivery of Ntini’s second bowling spell.
Ntini, who did not make South Africa’s team for the third Test against England, took another two wickets with his last two deliveries. He beat Dillon du Preez (0) with a slower delivery at the end.
Meanwhile, the Titans and Dolphins both got two points in Benoni on Sunday after their game was called off due to an unplayable outfield. It was enough for the Titans (29 points after eight games) to overtake the Cape Cobras (28 after nine) as leaders.