• Morkel stuns Cobras

    The week’s first round of Momentum One-Day Cup fixtures saw Albie Morkel push the Titans to victory over the Cobras, Michael Price and Jon-Jon Smuts go big for the Warriors against the Dolphins – and Dillon du Preez sink the Lions on the Knights’ behalf.

    Morkel stuns Cobras

    Albie Morkel returned to Momentum One-Day Cup action with a bang as he thumped four sixes in an unbeaten 63 that saw The Titans to a comfortable victory over the Cape Cobras at Newlands on Friday.

    After taking two for 17 in seven overs as the Cobras were bowled out for 213, Morkel struck an unbeaten 63 in 52 balls to finish off the chase and give the Titans a five-wicket win.

    With the Dolphins losing to the Warriors in Port Elizabeth, the result moved the Titans up to second place and put them in pole position for a home play-off – and gave them an outside chance of overhauling the Cobras at the top of the table. The Titans now have 17 points from seven games, while the Cobras have 25 from eight.

    The Cobras’ success in the competition has come from their strength at the top of the order, but Morkel struck two major blows by dismissing both Andrew Puttick and Richard Levi in his first two overs. Stiaan van Zyl attempted to provide the foundation as the innings was rebuilt, hitting 65 from 108 deliveries, but regular wickets in the middle overs meant that the hosts never gained real momentum.

    Ethy Mbhalati also played a key role on his return from injury, dismissing Justin Kemp (34) and Sybrand Engelbrecht (33) just as they were threatening to get going, while Henry Davids picked up two for 32 from a full complement of 10 overs as the Cobras were dismissed in 49 overs. The hosts were well and truly in the game when Mthokozisi Shezi (two for 26) grabbed a couple of wickets to reduce the Titans to 39 for three after nine overs, but Davids hit 54 and found enough support from Qaasim Adams to put the visitors back on track.

    After Adams (31) was dismissed by Robin Peterson, Grant Thomson (36 not out) played the anchor role as Morkel did what he does best – finish the game with some aggressive hitting. That included two fours and then consecutive sixes off the same Engelbrecht over to see the Titans home in style from just 43.5 overs.

    Smuts, Price put Dolphins to sword

    A mammoth stand between Michael Price and Jon-Jon Smuts and some pinpoint death bowling from Rusty Theron saw the Warriors to a 45-run victory over the Dolphins in Friday’s Momentum One-Day Cup clash at St George’s Park.

    Price and Smuts put on 178 for the first wicket to set the platform for a Warriors total of 322 for six, before Theron snuffed out some stubborn resistance from the Dolphins lower order, taking three wickets in one over. Theron then grabbed a fourth wicket – all of them bowled – to dismiss the Dolphins for 277 and finish with figures of four for 67.

    The Dolphins slipped down into third place on the table as a result, while the Warriors remain bottom but retained a mathematical chance of sneaking into the play-off. The hosts made full use of captain Colin Ingram’s success at the toss, with Price (95) and Smuts (88) putting on their partnership in the space of 32 overs.

    Once they were gone, the middle order had a license to attack and Ingram added 40 at a run a ball and Ryan Bailey smashed an unbeaten 63 in just 41 balls. The Dolphins made a promising start to their reply with Cameron Delport hitting 38 in 26 balls, but Lundi Mbane dismissed both the left-hander and Morne van Wyk (32), before the visitors suffered a trio of run-outs.

    Cody Chetty, Daryn Smit (38) and Robbie Frylinck fell to this series of unfortunate events to leave the innings in tatters at 185 for six. Khaya Zondo kept the Dolphins in the game with a spirited 74, and as he and Andile Phehlukwayo added 61 it appeared as though they might be able to set up a thrilling finale. However, Theron killed that possibility when he bowled Zondo, Keshav Maharaj and Craig Alexander in the same over, before finishing the game when his yorker claimed a fourth victim in Daryn Dupavillon.

    Du Preez sinks Lions

    Dillon du Preez’s four-wicket haul set the Knights up for a bonus-point victory over the Lions at the Wanderers that kept them in touch in the race for play-off positions in the Momentum One-Day Cup.

    Du Preez struck at crucial junctures to halt the Lions batting order and restrict them to 227 for nine, before Gerhardt Abrahams, Rudi Second and Pite van Biljon stroked half-centuries to see the Knights to a seven-wicket victory in just 38 overs. The five-pointer lifted the Knights onto 13 points, and although they did not improve on their fifth place, they are now within reach of third spot with two games to play.

    Knights captain Werner Coetsee won the toss and elected to bowl first, but the Lions made a solid start as Stephen Cook (34) and Rassie van der Dussen put on 54 for the first wicket before the hosts reached 124 for one in the 28th over of the innings. Van der Dussen (57) and Alviro Petersen (39) had given themselves time to get in ahead of a late push in the innings, but that didn’t work out when Du Preez dismissed Petersen and Temba Bavuma in consecutive overs and then the Lions lost three wickets without adding a run.

    Du Preez later added the scalp of Hardus Viljoen, and although Thami Tsolekile (34) and Kagiso Rabada (22) briefly revived the innings, Du Preez (4 for 34) dismissed the latter and Malusi Siboto took care of the former. That left the tail to navigate the final overs and ensured the Knights faced a meagre target.

    Lefa Mosena fell to Viljoen early in the chase, but Abrahams blazed his way to fifty off just 42 balls and shared a 107-run stand for the second wicket with Rudi Second, who provided the innings with stability. Both Abrahams (62) and Second (55) were bowled by Eddie Leie, but the damage had already been done and Van Biljon (51 not out) saw the Knights home with Obus Pienaar (25 not out).

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