Warriors on the back foot
Mthokozisi Shezi (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - A brilliant five-wicket haul by Mthokozisi Shezi dented the Warriors' title hopes on the opening day of their match against the Dolphins at Kingsmead in Durban, where the visitors were bowled out for a mere 92 runs before tea.
Ayebulela Gqamane, who made 29, was the only batsman to get beyond the teens, with most of the Warriors failing to reach double figures.
At close of play, the Dolphins were 170 for five, for a lead of 78.
Imraan Khan and Divan van Wyk got the hosts off to a brisk start, with an opening partnership of 58 before Khan was caught at first slip by Davy Jacobs off Wayne Parnell for 38, but after that, wickets fell at regular intervals.
At Willowmoore Park in Benoni, the Cape Cobras dismissed the Titans for 194 runs before tea. Johann Louw led the charge with a four-wicket haul, and the hosts were in deep trouble at 44 for five.
Roelof van der Merwe and Shaun von Berg provided some respectability with a seventh wicket partnership of 78, but when Beuran Hendricks bowled Von Berg for 47, the Titans' innings was all but over. Van der Merwe went out in the following over, caught by Andrew Puttick off Dane Piedt for 36, and Louw was able to mop up the tail without much trouble.
When stumps were drawn, the Cobras had 109 for two, trailing by 85 runs with eight wickets in hand. Alistair Gray was caught by Henry Davids off Farhaan Behardien for 43, including eight boundaries, and Andrew Puttick was lbw to Juan de Villiers for 11. Stiaan van Zyl was unbeaten on 44.
In Kimberley, log leaders the Highveld Lions had a frustrating day in the field against the Knights, who ended the day on 326 for nine.
Heroes of the Knights' innings were Rilee Rossouw, who made 80, including 11 fours, before he was caught behind by Thami Tsolekile off Brett Pelser, and Werner Coetsee, who scored 14 boundaries on his way to 78. Hardus Viljoen bowled him in the final over of the day, and the Lions will be eager to claim the last wicket as early as possible on Friday morning. The not out batsmen are Shadley van Schalkwyk on 11 and Malusi Siboto on nought.
Cliffe Deacon was the most successful bowler, taking three for 47, while Viljoen and Chris Morris took two each.
Brief scores after the opening day of Sunfoil Series matches on Thursday:
Titans 194 (S. von Berg 47, R. van der Merwe 36; J. Louw 4-38, B. Hendricks 3-47) v Cobras 109-2 (S. van Zyl 44 no, A. Gray 43)
Knights 326-9 (R. Rossouw 80, W. Coetsee 78, G. Cloete 54; W. Deacon 3-47) v Lions
Warriors 92 (A. Gqamane 29, W. Parnell 19; M. Shezi 5-28, K. Abbott 3-19) v Dolphins 170-5 (I. Khan 38, J. Vandiar 31; Parnell 2-27)