Johannesburg - The weather has created a fascinating end to the round robin
stage of the One Day Cup after the match between the Highveld Lions
and the Warriors at the Wanderers was
The umpires, Johan Cloete and Marais Erasmus, called the
game off shortly before 16:00 on Sunday as the heavens opened up after the
completion of the Lions’ innings.
Both teams will take two points from the
match, meaning that the Lions move to 28 points and remain four points clear of
the Cape Cobras. The match between the Knights and the Cobras in Bloemfontein
was abandoned earlier on Sunday without a ball being bowled.
Wednesday sees the final round of qualifying matches being
played, with the Highveld Lions travelling to Kimberley to take on the Knights,
while the Cobras host the Titans in Paarl. The other match involves the Dolphins
visiting the Warriors in East London.
Before the rain intervened, a wonderful innings of 73 not
out from Neil McKenzie helped the Lions post 208 for six in 43 overs.
The experience of McKenzie came through as his 73 not out
came off 96 balls and included eight boundaries and a six. McKenzie came to the
crease with the Lions struggling on 34 for two just after the rain
Warriors captain, Dave Jacobs, had no hesitation in sending
the Lions into bat after winning the toss under grey skies and bowler friendly
conditions. The decision paid immediate dividends as Andrew Birch trapped the
home team’s captain, Stephen Cook, for 11 before rain came down.
When the teams returned to the field of play, the match had
been reduced to 43 overs a side. The cloud cover and pitch assisted the opening
pair of Makhaya Ntini and Birch. Ntini struck in his fifth over, the first full
over after the rain interruption, having the exciting young Lions wicketkeeper,
Quinton de Kock, caught behind off an inside edge for three. Jacobs took an
excellent catch, diving low and to his right.
Ntini struck again in his seventh over, again combining with
Jacobs behind the stumps, to remove Gulam Bodi for 13, which included one huge
six over midwicket. The Lions were in a spot of bother at 45 for three, and
more was to follow as Jean Symes (eight) was run out from a direct throw at the
non-striker’s end by Ayabulela Gqamane. Temba Bavuma joined the experienced McKenzie
at the crease with the score on 60 in the 18th over.
Ntini, as has been the case all season long, bowled his full
stint on the trot, finishing with 2-23 from nine overs. Ntini, along with Birch
and left-arm quick, Wayne Parnell, consistently beat the edge of the bat.
Parnell finally found the edge of Bavuma’s bat, but, as has become the ‘norm’
in South African cricket of late, Parnell overstepped by some way, and Bavuma
survived with his score on nine.
Bavuma and McKenzie went about rebuilding the innings and
brought up their 50-run partnership in the 30th over when Bavuma slashed a
delivery from Christiaan Jonker down to third man for one.
Once again the change bowlers of the Warriors were not able
to build on the pressure that had been created by Ntini and Birch, as Parnell,
Basheer Walters, Ayabulela Gqamane and Jonker all went for runs.
Jon-Jon Smuts eventually made the breakthrough that Jacobs
had been looking for when Bavuma top edged an attempted pull shot off his hips,
to be caught by Birch at a short fine-leg. Bavuma played well for his 37, which
came off 44 balls and included five boundaries, in a partnership worth 80 with
McKenzie that came at five runs per over.
McKenzie brought up his 54th List A half-century off 80
deliveries including six boundaries, a valuable contribution that kept the home
side ticking over.
Zander de Bruyn's 23-ball stay at the crease yielded 15 runs
before becoming Jacobs’s third victim behind the stumps, this time off Birch.
This would be the last success for the Warriors as the home team scored 75 runs
off their final ten overs. Chris Morris played a gem of a cameo at the back-end
of the innings, scoring 23 not out off just 13 deliveries, which included two
Birch claimed 2-38 off his nine overs which assisted Ntini
in putting the Lions under some early pressure. As was the case in Cape Town on
Friday, Parnell went wicketless for 50 runs off nine overs, while Walters
conceded 31 runs off six overs, which included two maidens.
Jonker, Gqamane and Smuts had combined figures of 10-0-59-1
and illustrated the lack of support for Birch and Ntini.
A worrying stat for coach Piet Botha to think about is that
his bowlers conceded 17 wides, with Walters, Ntini and Birch conceding 13
Highveld Lions: Stephen Cook (captain), Gulam Bodi,
Quintin de Kock (wicketkeeper), Neil McKenzie, Jean Symes, Chris Morris, Temba Bavuma,
Zander de Bruyn, Garnett Kruger, Aaron Phangiso, Pumelela Matshikwe.
Warriors: Ashwell Prince, Jon-Jon Smuts, Christiaan
Jonker, Colin Ackermann, Davy Jacobs (captain, wicketkeeper), Wayne Parnell, Craig Thyssen,
Ayabulela Gqamane, Basheer Walters, Andrew Birch, Makhaya Ntini.