Magnificent fightback sees Inland earn draw

2014-10-27 00:00

TO most observers it was game over for KZN Inland as they began Saturday’s final day of the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup match against a buoyant Free State at the Maritzburg Oval, but the home side thought otherwise and staged a magnificent fightback to avoid near-certain defeat.

Following on, and still trailing Free State by 258 runs with just eight second inning wickets left, Inland had to bat out the entire day in order to earn a draw.

Free State had taken too long in compiling 406 in their first innings. Inland, reeling from the shock of being blasted out by a potent pace and seam attack for just 68 and being asked to follow on, knew that a supreme effort might just save them.

Beginning Saturday at a much better 80 for two, thanks in part to Mbasa Gqadushe’s feisty 34, it was opener Abram Ndhlovu, SJ Erwee, Suhail Razack and skipper Shane Burger who supplied the steely resolve demanded by coach Grant Morgan and Inland had reached 280 for five off 103 overs when their ally, the weather conditions, did the rest to ensure a hard-earned draw.

Ndhlovu was the rock, grinding out an undefeated 126 in over seven hours, facing 298 balls and hitting 16 boundaries. Erwee made 41 in close to three hours off 126 balls, Razack 47 off 79 balls and Burger 15 off 52 balls — it was heroic and will give the lads much confidence as the season progresses.

The CSA Provincial 50-Over Challenge match was reduced to 28 overs per innings due to the poor weather.

Free State scored 175 for seven. Inland left-arm opening bowler Yusuf Abdulla took four of Free State’s first five wickets to end with a superb four for 26. Ruhan Pretorius, Kyle Nipper and Mbasa Gqadushe picked up a wicket apiece.

A further weather disruption meant Inland’s innings was reduced from 28 to 20 overs, this after they had reached 31 for two off 7.5 overs. The revised target was now 140. Inland had reached 109 for six before the match was called off for good.


3-Day: Free State 1st inn 406/6. KZN Inland 1st inn 68. Inland 2nd inn 280/5 (A Ndhlovu 126*). Draw.

L/O: Free State 175/7 (Y Abdulla 4-26). KZN Inland 109/6 (S Erwee 21, M Hulett 21, R Pretorius 25). No result.

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