Friend rattles Inland

2009-10-09 00:00

LIKE a boxer backed into a corner by Mike Tyson, KZN Inland were never allowed much room to breathe or launch a counter-attack against a rampant KZN Coastal on day one of the three-day SA Provincial Challenge cricket match in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Inland were knocked out for a modest 171 two hours after lunch. In reply, Coastal rollicked to 50 in the ninth over before the home side’s Narvaar Harridave and left-arm spinner Kyle Nipper reined them with a combined 18 overs for 45 for the Durban side to reach 133 for two after 37 overs at the close. The fading light prompted umpires Rudi Birkenstock and Adri Crafford to call it quits with eight of the scheduled 104 overs to go.

The highlight of Inland’s day was tidy seamer Harridave’s dislodging of the dangerous Loots Bosman’s stumps. The hard-hitting opener returned to the pavilion having hit 58 off 72 balls with eight fours. Compact number three Khaya Zondo was unbeaten on 52 (105 balls) at stumps, hitting the sweet spot with eight boundaries when the umpires called time.

Coastal captain Quinton Friend won the toss at the picture-perfect Maritzburg Oval and took the right option in asking counterpart Tim Drummond’s side to bat.

The pitch had sufficient juice in it, allied with decent bounce and pace, to keep the quicks interested. It also gave the Inland batsmen little respite as the accurate Coastal attack kept the pressure up from both the Park Drive and Dusi ends, the latter offering disconcerting bounce off a length, which undid Bradley Moses in particular and accounted for the visitors’ opener, Cameron Delport.

From the top, Inland had partnerships of 34, 21, 34, 33 and 34. As player/coach Doug Watson said, “Lots of guys got in, but didn’t kick on.”

The most impressive were openers Dipak Anand, who looked in good nick with seven fours in his 35 off 54, Watson (42) and Drummond (40).

The former Eastwood Secondary learner, left-arm opening bowler Mthokozisi Shezi (2-30 in eight), shaped the ball beautifully away from the left-hander and across the right-hander. Friend (4-41 in 14) worked up a healthy head of steam and former Inland paceman Mario Saliwa (2-33 in 14) extracted the same disconcerting bounce as his skipper did from Park Drive. The overall effect ensured that polished gloveman Bradley Barnes got in on the act with five catches.

Just 38 runs behind and eight wickets in hand, the Durban men are perfectly positioned to deliver the knockout punch, although the gloomy weather forecast may become Inland’s friend far more than Quinton was yesterday.

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