Northerns fall short in thrilling chase

The second day of the annual Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week belonged mainly to the bowlers once again, but a decision by Northerns’ captain, Willie Ludick and his coach Pieter Cronjé produced some extra spice to the day.Northerns declared their first innings on 58/9 with a deficit of 61 runs against Mpumalanga. This decision gave Northerns a marginal chance at victory after it was already just a formality that they would be losing the match on the first innings.The rules of time-cricket state that if a team scores more than 45 runs in its first innings before declaring, said team would only need five second inning wickets from the opposition to bowl them out. If a team declares its innings before reaching 45 runs, it would have to get rid of ten of the opponent’s batsmen.
Dean Foxcroft (4/28) then led the way in restricting Mpumalanga to 51/5 in their second innings. That left Northerns with a target of 113 runs needed from the last ten overs of the day for an outright victory. They however, finished 54 runs short. Western Province were given a second life by the hosts, Eastern Province in their match at the Pollock Oval of Grey High School. They had their back against the wall at 40/5, but managed to reach a respectable 216. Their captain, Aaqil Ebrahim (78) and Ryan Klein (50*) played a major part in this fight back. It seemed as though Eastern Province would be salvaging a draw after Kyle Jacobs (41) and Jonathan Draai (6) frustrated the Western Province bowlers. The duo scored 47 of their team’s 88 runs in the 18.5 overs they were together at the crease. Gauteng was almost on the losing side of a match at the tournament for the first time since 2012’s main match against Western Province in Potchefstroom. If it wasn’t for a stubborn partnership over the eighth wicket between Wandile Makwetu (20*, 144b) and Ntokozo Mahlaba (2*, 43b) the team would have tasted defeat against KwaZulu-Natal Inland. The two batsmen spent 17.1 overs at the crease for an unbeaten 11 runs to secure the draw.
The best bowling performance of the day was produced by Roché Rossouw of Northern Cape, who picked up five wickets for 75 runs against South Western Districts. SWD however, still managed to secure a win on the first innings, thanks mainly to the batting of Richard Papenfus (78).The best batting performance belonged to Free State’s Raynard van Tonder (79) against KwaZulu-Natal. Sean Whitehead (33*) again produced a quality performance with both the bat and the ball, while Kevin Pretorius (54) also weighed in with a half-century. KwaZulu-Natal were also saved by an outstanding partnership. Joel Veeran (77*) and Sithabiso Zungu (45*) shared an unbeaten 131-run, fifth wicket stand after they were in trouble at 26/4.

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