Keshav Maharaj’s career-best bowling figures spurred the Hollywoodbets Dolphins on to a first Sunfoil Series win of the season as they beat the Warriors by 55 runs on the final day at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

The Standard Bank Proteas spinner and stand-in captain claimed seven for 76 – the best bowling figures by any bowler in 2017/18 – to help his side claim the final four wickets and bowl the hosts out for 230 before lunch.

The Warriors had been chasing a target of 286 and resumed the final day on 172 for six, but were dismissed in 78.5 overs as the visitors claimed only the third overall win of the campaign to stay in the hunt for the title.

Simon Harmer and Clyde Fortuin, both on four, were the two unbeaten batsmen at the start, and they kept their side in contention for the opening 10 overs when they shifted the score on to 199 for six.

But the latter fell to Senuran Muthusamy for 15 to open the door for the Dolphins and Maharaj then took out Ayabulela Gqamane (12) and Tladi Bokako (0) both leg before wicket with the total on 212.

Anrich Nortje (3) was then run out, leaving Harmer, the hero with the ball for the Warriors after he took 12 wickets earlier in the game, stranded on 36.

Maharaj, meanwhile, improved on his previous best figures of seven for 89 in the same fixture last season as his side reduced the gap at the top of the table.

Shabnim Ismail took a career-best 5/30 to help the Momentum Proteas beat India by five wickets in the third Cricket South Africa (CSA) Women’s T20 at the Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday. The visitors now lead the series 2-1.

India were restricted to 133 in 17.5 overs thanks to Ismail’s remarkable spell which was well supported by Masabata Klaas, who got 2/20. A special mention must go to Marizanne Kapp who got the team off to a sensational start, taking the wicket of Mithali Raj (0) in the first over of the match. She ended with outstanding figures of 1/6 in three overs including her opening wicket maiden after the home side won the toss and elected to field.

India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur (48) and Smriti Mandhana (37) recovered the innings well, but wickets tumbled at regular intervals, the bowlers not allowing the batting side to settle in for too long.

South Africa’s reply saw the early loss of Lizelle Lee for the third match straight, this time for five runs off Pooja Vastrakar (2/21). Captain, Dané van Niekerk chipped in with 26 runs off 20 balls (5x4s) before Suné Luus (41 off 34) and Mignon du Preez (20) began the rebuild.

Poonam Yadav struck at the end of the 14th over with the Proteas needing 50 from the last 36 balls. Enter the dangerous Chloe Tryon who smashed 34 runs from just 15 deliveries, getting her side to the brink of victory. They needed just three runs when she lost her wicket and overcame the visitors comfortably in the end.

Nicky van den Bergh and Zubayr Hamza hit final-day half-centuries as the Sunfoil Series clash between the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and bizhub Highveld Lions ended in a draw at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl on Sunday.

The visitors were eventually bowled out for 562 in reply to the 574 for eight declared by the hosts.

Wiaan Mulder then took four wickets to leave the Cobras on 117 for four when the two captains shook hands.

The men from Gauteng had started out the day on 465 for four, and managed just under 100 for the final six wickets.

Van den Bergh was their highest scorer on the day after hitting 60 (190 balls, 6 fours) as Simon Khomari ended as the pick of the bowlers with two for 66 – the away side eventually dismissed in 178.3 overs and trailing by 12.

An excellent burst by Mulder, who claimed four for 25, threatened a late twist after the Cobras were reduced to 55 for four.

But Hamza hit 54 (67 balls, 10 fours) and shared in an unbroken 62-run stand with Aviwe Mgijima (20) to take the hosts to safety and a seventh draw of the season.

Warriors coach Rivash Gobind is wary of the battle-hardened Hollywoodbets Dolphins ahead of their Sunfoil Series encounter that starts at at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth from Thursday.

The KwaZulu-Natal franchise have been forced into several corners this season, but like they did last week against the VKB Knights in Bloemfontein, have put up some brave second-innings shows to salvage priceless draws from matches.

They were made to follow on at the Mangaung Oval, but emerged with a shared result and Gobind knows they have a tough task on their hands in the Eastern Cape.

“The Dolphins have shown that they’re really hard to beat this year,” he said. “They’ve found themselves in some really tough positions and each time they’ve managed to dig their way out.

“We’re going to have to be at our very best to try and force a result. Hopefully we can do that over the next few days.”

The two teams shared the Momentum One-Day Cup title a few weeks ago and both will want to make that count now heading into the final passage of the season.

The Warriors made an excellent start to the second half of the term when they stunned the bizhub Highveld Lions in a low-scoring affair in East London. It was a result that propelled them to second place and Gobind believes they can take a lot of confidence heading into the final four rounds.

“It was a tight game and the fact that both teams were pushing for a result helped,” he added. “I thought we were really good over the course of the game.

“I think winning that game, the first of the second round, was really important and leaves us in a good space going to the final four games.”

Despite the fight put up by the Dolphins, their coach, Grant Morgan, admits it has been coming too late in games when the points on offer are far less compared to good showings earlier on in games.

“We can’t carry on like this because we are losing crucial first innings points and we are getting to a stage where we need to win but if we can’t we need to stay in touch and get those first innings points,” he explained. “The frustrating part is that we are spending too much time on the back foot in games and have to recoup games through some massive fightbacks.”

The Dolphins boss, whose side are fourth on the table and still very much in contention, is desperate for his side to do much better in the remaining weeks of the season.

“I would say that we have only shown hints of our A game here and there throughout the season,” he added. “We owe ourselves our A game at least three times out of the next four games.”

 

India’s quest for a maiden bilateral series whitewash against South Africa was thwarted by the hosts with a resounding seven-wicket win in Potchefstroom. Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez, who both struck half-centuries, played protagonists in South Africa’s first win in the three-match series, aided by a brisk 41-run cameo from captain Dane van Niekerk and India’s sloppiness in the end overs of their 240-run defence.

Needing 63 off the last nine overs, and the fourth-wicket stand between du Preez and Niekerk worth only nine runs, Shikha Pandey dropped a Niekerk force at mid-off off the first ball of the 42nd over. Four balls later, legspinner Poonam Yadav gave herself a chance of picking up her second wicket and India a shot at sending back du Preez, only to be squandered by wicketkeeper Sushma Verma in the form of a missed stumping. When Poonam came back in the 44th to bowl her ninth over, she dropped a return catch off van Niekerk, who subsequently unleashed a flurry of drives and sweeps – some while falling on her knee – and peppered the square-leg boundary for quick runs. She totaled five fours in her unbeaten 30-ball innings, while routinely capitalising on overthrows from India in the back-end of the chase.

Van Niekerk’s ingenuity amounted to a 72-run stand with du Preez, who anchored the chase with an unbeaten 111-ball 90 that steered a 118-run third-wicket partnership with 18-year-old Wolvaardt. Coming into the game on the back of scores 9 and 21 in the previous two ODIs, Wolvaardt weathered the early loss of opening partner Lizelle Lee, and put on 41 runs with Andrie Steyn (30 off 53) en route to her 88-ball 59. In doing so, Wolvaardt became the youngest South African to notch up 1000 runs in ODI cricket. After Ekta Bisht removed Wolvaardt, du Preez kept the chase on track with plucky singles, including the one that sealed the chase with four balls to spare.

Out of the three changes made to India’s winning combination from the previous two matches, debutant Pooja Vastrakar, the teenage medium-pacer who came in for Jhulan Goswami, and Bisht, who replaced fellow left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, leaked 77 runs between them for a solitary wicket in their combined 18 overs. The other change – in the batting department – Mona Meshram, who came in for Punam Raut, pinched 11 in her 22-ball labour during an India innings that blew hot and cold in their 240-run effort.
While Smriti Mandhana, the Player of the Series, followed her 135 and 84 with a duck, captain Mithali Raj fell for a 24-ball 4 as both found themselves in the middle of a blistering opening burst from Ayabonga Khaka and Shabnim Ismail, who topped and tailed her 9-1-30-4 with the wickets of Mandhana and tailender Bisht. Deepti Sharma, however, validated Raj’s decision to promote her to the opening role with a 112-ball 79. After van Niekerk brought Harmanpreet Kaur’s 35-ball 25 to an end, Deepti steadied India’s innings with an 83-run stand with Veda Krishnamurthy, becoming the youngest Indian to get to the 1000-run mark in women’s ODIs.

Krishnamurthy, meanwhile, added urgency to the innings with a quick-paced second straight fifty, before a run-a-ball 17 from Verma and 31-run blitz from Pandey hoisted India to 240 as the hosts bowled them out off the last ball of the innings, concluded by part-time bowler Chloe Tryon who took two wickets in her 10 overs.

The Hollywoodbets Dolphins and the Warriors will share the Momentum One-Day Cup after the reserve day on Saturday, as was the case with the clash on Friday, was abandoned due to rain.

No play was possible on Saturday as the outfield was drenched after steady drizzle throughout the morning.

On Friday, the Dolphins accumulated 154 for six in 39.4 overs, and Senuran Muthusamy produced a composed half-century to rescue them after Andrew Birch, with 2-29, had rocked the top-order and had them wobbling on 48 for four.

On Saturday, it rained steadily during the morning and a wet outfield denied the finalists any on-field action.

Remarkably, two teams shared the spoils in the Momentum One-Day Cup competition in 2012-13 and 2013-14 due to rain.

It was the first time since 2010 that the Warriors got their hands on the trophy. The Dolphins had never won or shared the 50-over showpiece since the franchise-system was birthed in 2004-05.

During the first decade of the new century, KwaZulu-Natal did win the one-day competition in 2001 and 2002.

Jon-Jon Smuts, the captain, applauded the character displayed by the Warriors to come out on top in what was effectively a quarterfinal and subsequently a semifinal.

Keshav Maharaj, the Dolphins skipper, said they were thrown a lifeline when the weather interviewed on Friday and the Warriors were in the pound seats. Sharing the trophy is the result of years and years of hard work, he added.

This season, Dolphins finished third in the competition and subsequently accounted for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in the second semifinal by 49 runs.

The Warriors stunned the defending champions, the Multiply Titans, by eight wickets in the first semifinal.

Gihahn Cloete, with 56, and Smuts, with an unbeaten 74, were the executioners in ensuring a comprehensive win.

Cloete was the leading run-scorer for the Warriors with 546 runs. Smuts also revived the innings of the Dolphins on many occasions and finished with 384 during the series.

Sisanda Magala nipped out 18 batsmen during the campaign. Ayabulela Gqamane captured 17 wickets.

The Dolphins batsmen Sarel Erwee (415 runs) and Dane Vilas (362) were stand-out performers.

Imran Tahir, Senuran Muthusamy and Mthokozisi Shezi struck 13 times each in the domestic 50-over competition.

Half-centuries from captain JJ Smuts and openers Lesiba Ngoepe and Gihahn Cloete helped Warriors inflict an eight-wicket defeat on Multiply Titans at Supersport Park to book their spot in the final of the Momentum One-Day Cup.

Despite having topped the points table in the league round, Titans had to bow out after a meek surrender. Opting to field, the Warriors bowlers restricted them to a mere 230 before the top-three nearly polished off the chase amongst themselves.

Titans were off to a slow but steady start with the openers putting on a 47-run stand before calamity struck. Both opening batsmen fell in the space of four overs and even before they could recover, they lost Dean Elgar with the team’s score under 100. The team could never really recover from the quick wickets, and lost five more at regular intervals. All of Titans’ top five got starts, but neither could go past the 30-run mark.

Farhaan Behardien helped the side to a respectable total with his fifty. Coming in to bat at 115 for 4, he contributed a solid 57 off 67 balls to take his team past the 200-run mark. But no consistent support from the other end meant Titans fell short of reaching a challenging total. Behardien’s was the ninth wicket, and the last pair could add only nine more as Titans folded for 230 in 49.4 overs.

Warriors’ innings was in sharp contrast to that of Titans. Ngoepe (69) and Cloete (56) put on 115 runs for the opening partnership in little over 17 overs before the opposition could get a breakthrough. By then, however, the openers’ destructive hitting had ensured the match was well out of Titans’ grasp.

Ngoepe carried on, in the company of skipper Smuts, but couldn’t convert his half-century in a hundred. He fell for a 64-ball 69 that contained half a dozen hits to the fence and two over it. Smuts took charge then on, hammering an unbeaten 74 off just 60 deliveries to take his side over the line with more than 15 overs to spare. Smut’s unbeaten knock included 11 boundaries and a six. He hit the winning runs in the 35th over to send Titans packing.

 

A key half-century by Farhaan Behardien helped the Multiply Titans book a home semi-final and possible final after they edged out the Hollywoodbets Dolphins by 29 runs in their Momentum One-Day Cup clash at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

The Standard Bank Proteas batsman struck 88 (80 balls, 3 fours, 3 sixes) as the visitors recovered to reach 242 for eight after losing the toss and being put into bat first.

The hosts, however, let themselves down with some poor fielding that allowed the champions to score more runs than they should after they were reduced to 127 for five.

Mthokozesi Shezi picked up two for 39 and Imran Tahir bagged two for 40, although they could do little to prevent Behardien from shepherding the tail, which included stands of 55 with David Wiese (26) and 50 with Tabraiz Shamsi (15 not out).

The Dolphins made excellent progress early by reaching halfway at 134 for three thanks mainly to Sarel Erwee, who hit 76 (101 balls, 8 fours, 2 sixes).

However, they then fell to 163 for seven within 10 overs as Albie Morkel (2/30), Corbin Bosch (2/34) and Shamsi (2/53) took two wickets apiece.

Despite Khaya Zondo hitting 36 not out, he lacked support as the home side fell to a crippling loss that severely dented their hopes of hosting a semi-final.

Rudi Second, Patrick Kruger, Grant Mokoena and Andries Gous all hit half-centuries as the VKB Knights ended their seven-match winless streak by beating the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras with a bonus point for their first victory of the Momentum One-Day Cup season in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

The hosts, who had lost five and tied two of their seven matches in 2017/18, were set up for victory after the quartet helped them amass a fixture record score of 320 for four – by far the highest score for the home side this season.

Eddie Leie and Mbulelo Budaza then shared seven wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 245 in 41.4 overs at the Mangaung Oval.

It completed a relieving win for the Central Franchise and kept their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive with two matches to play.

They lost the toss and were asked to bat first, but began well through Mokoena, who scored a franchise cricket best of 75 (96 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes).

David Miller was promoted to open the order but that experiment failed after he made eight, but Gous stepped up with 74 (87 balls, 8 fours) in what was his debut game.

After he departed it was the Second (78 off 58 balls, 5 fours, 4 sixes) and Kruger (64 off 44, 3 fours, 3 sixes) show as they plundered a 135-run unbroken fifth wicket stand in just 12.5 overs.

The Cobras scored quickly in their reply, but lost wickets far too regularly as they fell to 136 just after the halfway stage.

Their highest scorer was Kyle Verreynne with his 54 (49 balls, 2 fours, 3 sixes), but he was one of four wickets to fall to the spin of Leie (4/65), who last week conceded the most expensive figures in the history of the competition when he went for 90 in seven overs against the same opponents.

Budaza bagged three for 40 for good measure to lead the Knights to a timeous win.

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