Eagles quest for win dampened
Dean Elgar (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - In a SuperSport Series cricket match bedevilled by the elements on Saturday, the Diamond Eagles were 54 for one at close of play against the Highveld Lions, at the Wanderers.
The Eagles, who had bowled their hosts out for 196, require a further 136 runs to clinch the match.
When the players trekked off the Bullring because of bad light, there were still 40 overs left of the day's allocation. Dean Elgar and Rilee Rossouw were on 27 and 20 respectively.
In murky conditions, the visitors started off diffidently in pursuit of their quest of 190 runs, and in so doing lost the wicket of Reeza Hendricks. Elgar and Rossouw survived some vociferous appeals, which the umpires turned a deaf ear to.
Should the Eagles prevail, they will soar to the top of the SuperSport log, displacing the Titans, as the match taking place across the Jukskei seems to be heading for a draw. If that scenario were to play out, all eyes will be on Bloemfontein where the two sides will meet in the penultimate round from March 26-29.
Earlier, the Lions resumed on their overnight score of 161 for five, with Dane Vilas on 32 and Cliffie Deacon on 10. However, disaster struck with the first-ball of the day, Vilas swished at a Victor Mpitsang delivery, but only succeeded in edging it to the keeper Morne van Wyk.
The Lions' hero of the first-innings, Aaron Phangiso, strode purposely to the wicket, but seven-balls later he was retracing his steps back to the hut. Mpitsang had bowled him neck-and-crop to give the Free State quickie his 200th first-class scalp, three overs into the day, two of which were wicket maidens.
Friedel de Wet hung around for 30 minutes, but then went fishing outside his off-stump, only to edge a Mpitsang delivery to Van Wyk, to give the keeper his fifth catch of the innings, and his 10th overall.
Mpitsang had reduced the home side to 186 for eight, with figures of three for five off 6.2 overs. CJ de Villiers produced a brute of a delivery, which Garnett Kruger could only fend off to Boeta Dippenaar in the slips, a catch the Eagles captain was only too pleased to hold on to, as he had dropped Vaughn van Jaarsveld twice on Friday, when the stylish batsman was on his way to an imperious 88.
Deacon, who had spent 90 minutes at the crease compiling an obdurate 25 (5x4), was the last man out, caught at fine-leg by that man, Mpitsang.
The Lions had lost their last five wickets for 35 runs within 15 overs.