Unfriendly weather spoils KZN Inland’s promising three-dayer

2009-11-20 00:00

FOR both Border and KZN Inland, this weekend’s Provincial Challenge fixtures that were meant to start at the Maritzburg Oval yesterday can be seen as must-win matches as they look to make headway in the respective three-day and 40-over competitions.

However, prospects for victory in the three-dayer were dealt a massive blow yesterday when the opening day’s play was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to the unfriendly (for cricket, that is) weather.

With forecasts not looking good, the remaining two days’ play could also be badly affected, while Sunday’s 40-over bash might also be washed away.

The three-day log sees Inland 11th of the 14 teams and Border second-last in a title chase led by EP, Gauteng and WP respectively.

For Sunday’s 40-over match, there is little to choose between the basement dwellers, Inland in second-last place and Border last. North West, Gauteng and Free State top this table.

It’s all a little misleading, though, as some teams have games in hand.

Just like yesterday, Inland were left to kick their heels for three extraordinary days in Paarl last weekend before the trip and the weather finally improved for a thrilling one-dayer narrowly lost to Boland.

In last week’s three-dayer, Border were on the receiving end of a comprehensive defeat at the hands of reigning champs Griquas, eventually going down by nine wickets, while the 40-over also went to the men from Kimberley by 45 runs.

The Border bowlers bore the brunt of a Griquas first innings total of 407 in the three-dayer with Wendell Bossenger hammering 168. Despite the amount of leather that was flogged all over the park, Border’s Phaphama Fojela (4-73), Lucky Pangabantu (3-89) and Shaun de Kock (2-74) got among the wickets with varying degrees of success.

And although Border could only muster 182 in their first innings and a more respectable 270 in the second dig, there were half-centuries for Bryn Thomas, De Kock and Sithembele Makongolo plus a useful 44 by Luthando Mnyanda.

Thomas, with 82 and Fojela, with three wickets, were the outstanding Border men in the 40-over match.

Taking both the longer and shorter format of the game, this season’s most successful run-getters have been Inland opener Mario Olivier, player/coach Doug Watson, Tim Drummond and Morne van Vuuren, while Border’s Kevin Bennett, Thomas and De Kock have also found the sweet spot of their blades more often than their team-mates.

Those bowlers who have best-exposed batsmen’s frailties are Inland’s Kyle Nipper, Narvaar Harridave, Van Vuuren and Richard Hlela as well as Border’s De Kock and Fojela plus Lundi Mbane and Lwando Lwana.

In this era of sports specialisation, even at school level, there are no longer those dual provincial and even national players at senior level. Not in this match, though, as Inland skipper Drummond will get reacquainted with fellow national level hockey player Julian Hykes of Border.

At the same time as the PMB Oval affair, KZN Coastal tackle Easterns in Benoni. Coastal lie in last spot on the three-day log to Easterns’ fourth, while the 40-over sees Coastal fifth and Easterns in 11th place. Yesterday’s fare in Benoni was also bedevilled by rain.

Meanwhile, coach Paul Atkins has named the Inland women’s side to meet North West in Potchefstroom on Sunday. KZN Coastal are also there this weekend.

The Inland side will again be captained by Cherri Cannon, who has the experienced fellow national-level player Pippa Payne at her side, as well as a number of relative rookies who are still feeling their way in senior provincial cricket.

TEAMS

Inland: Doug Watson, Tim Drummond (capt), Kyle Nipper, Dipak Anand, Mario Olivier, Mbasa Gqadushe, Bradley Moses, Narvaar Harridave, Richard Hlela, Kimeshan Chetty, Glen Addicott, Oliver Humphries, Morne van Vuuren, Chad Barron.

Border: Bryn Thomas (vice-capt), Sithembele Makongolo, Kevin Bennett, Darryl Brown (capt), Somila Seyibokwe, Julian Hykes, Shaun de Kock, Mawande Joko, Lwando Lwana, Lundi Mbane, Phaphama Fojela, Lucky Pangabantu.

Inland women: Cherri Cannon (capt), Pippa Payne, Natalie Archer, Sarena Ferreira, Avril Forbes, Nadia Hattiah, Marlene Steenkamp, Gugu Ngcobo, Yuvi Nirghen, Bianca Sakoor, Sarah Hayes-Hill, Phumela Ndlovu.

• Jon Cook’s preview for the Inland vs Border match at the Oval was left out of The Witness in error yesterday. The paper apologises for the mistake.

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