• Hamza ton puts Cobras back on top of title race

    Zubayr Hamza scored a superb undefeated hundred as the Cobras played themselves into a strong position against the Dolphins, while the Warriors frustrated the Lions during day two of the final round of 4-Day Franchise Series matches.

    Dolphins vs Cobras 

    An unbeaten century by Zubayr Hamza helped the log-leading Cape Cobras seize the advantage after two days of their decisive 4-Day Series match against the Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

    The right-hander, who made his Test debut for the Proteas against Pakistan earlier this month, was still batting on 104 (207 balls, 12 fours), with his side on 245 for three when bad light ended play early at the City Oval. By that stage, the visitors trailed by only 65 runs in their final match of the first-class season.

    The Cape side held a lead of just over three points heading into the fixture, and they are bidding to hold off the Highveld Lions, who are playing the Warriors in their last game. Ashwell Prince’s side enjoyed a perfect day two, which began brightly through a brilliant Vernon Philander burst that put them on the front foot right from the outset.

    The South Africa seamer nabbed four wickets without conceding a run in 14 deliveries on the second morning, as the hosts slipped from 293 for six overnight to 310 all out. It gave him figures of four for 46 in 14.2 overs, with George Linde (4-62) also finishing with four wickets.

    It was then over to the batsmen to fire, and led by Hamza, they did not disappoint. Simon Khomari (14) put on 29 with the in-form Pieter Malan (44) for the first wicket, with the latter then adding 68 with the centurion for the second wicket.

    A further 64 followed for the third wicket between David Bedingham (37) and Hamza, who went on to complete his 10th first-class century. He was still there at the end, sharing another useful unbroken stand of 84 with Kyle Verreynne (41 not out).

    Dolphins 310 (VB van Jaarsveld 120, MN Erlank 50, S Muthusamy 36, K Zondo 25, MJ Ackerman 23, KA Maharaj 20; VD Philander 4-46, GF Linde 4-62, D Paterson 1-75, DL Piedt 1-99)
    Cape Cobras 245-3 (Zubayr Hamza 104 not out, PJ Malan 44, K Verreynne 41 not out, DG Bedingham 37; O Cele 1-22, KJ Dudgeon 1-32, S Muthusamy 1-46)
    Cape Cobras trail by 65 runs with 7 first-innings wickets in hand


    Lions vs Warriors

    Delano Potgieter continued his sensational debut by claiming four wickets for the title-chasing Highveld Lions, but the Warriors did manage to fight back to end the second day of their 4-Day Series match strongly in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.

    The all-rounder, who shared a South African record 301-run partnership on his way to 145 on day one, nabbed four for 54 as the visitors reached stumps on 314 for six at Senwes Park. It left the Eastern Cape franchise trailing by 126 runs at the halfway stage of a game that the home side must win to give themselves the best chance of overhauling the Cape Cobras at the top of the table.

    The Johannesburg-based side started the day by adding 31 for their remaining two wickets as Fortuin moved from his overnight score of 157 to finish with a magnificent 183 (227 balls, 34×4, 1×6).

    Glenton Stuurman ended with five for 110 – his eighth career five-for – as the Lions finished with 440. It was then over to the Warriors and they made a good fist of the reply, thanks to a number of contributions. Eddie Moore (36) and Matthew Breetzke (30) put on 72 for the first wicket, with both falling to the seam of Potgieter within 11 balls of each other.

    The quick wickets of Lesiba Ngoepe (11) and Yaseen Vallie (14), also to the debutant, then left the away side in some trouble on 122 for four. But one of the brightest prospects of the 2018-19 competition, Sinethemba Qeshile, again rose to the fore with his fourth half-century in five innings to lift his side.

    The 19-year-old wicketkeeper top-scored with a fluent 76 (82 balls, 12×4) and shared in stands of 58 and 61 with Marco Marais (33) and Sisanda Magala respectively to take the Warriors to 241 for six.

    The latter was still unbeaten at stumps, batting on 59 (124 balls, 9×4), and together with Thomas Kaber (38), had added an unbroken 73 for the seventh wicket to keep their side still in the game.

    Lions 440 (BC Fortuin 183, D Potgieter 145, K Rapulana 34, T Bavuma 22, SC Cook 21; GA Stuurman 5-110, SSB Magala 3-101, S Langa 2-70)
    Warriors 314-6 (S Qeshile 76, SSB Magala 59 not out, TP Kaber 38 not out, EM Moore 36,  M Marais 33, MP Breetzke 30; D Potgieter 4-54, MP Siboto 1-59, BC Fortuin 1-65)
    Warriors trail by 126 runs with 4 first-innings wickets in hand


    Titans vs Knights

    The Titans and the Knights endured further frustration on Tuesday as the second day of their 4-Day Series clash had to be abandoned due to a wet outfield in Benoni. There was no play on day one for the same reason, and even though on day two outfield conditions had improved, there was concern expressed by umpires Abdoellah Steenkamp and Johan Cloete over the bowlers’ run-up area.

    Lunch and tea were again taken early at WIllowmoore Park before the officials eventually decided to abandon play for the day.

    The match is the last of the first-class season for both sides, with neither having a chance of winning the title. Play is scheduled to begin at 9.30am on Wednesday.


    Photo: Cricket South Africa

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