Bokako on song as Warriors overcome Lions
THE Warriors secured the first win of the second half of the Sunfoil Series yesterday, as their frenetic clash against the Lions ended well inside the third day.
Ultimately, the hosts finished off the visitors for just 131, registering a remarkable, 29-run victory in the process.
The Lions had entered the final day hopeful of reaching their target of 161, but the low scoring that has plagued the match held true for the final innings.
Skipper Stephen Cook had fallen on the second evening, so the Lions’ hopes rested squarely on the shoulders of first innings top-scorer Rassie van der Dussen.
The lanky Van der Dussen again stood out, with a stern 40, but he was powerless against a varied and persistent Warriors attack. Simon Harmer, who opened the bowling, emphasising the low and slow nature of the pitch, added another three scalps to his first innings haul of three, but it was Tladi Bokako (pictured) who stole the headlines for the Eastern Cape outfit.
The seamer helped himself to four for 15 in just 11 overs, as he persisted with a full and straight line. Nono Pongolo added a dogged 20 to his 24 in the first dig, but he was powerless to stop the Warriors.
Pongolo was last man out, to skipper JJ Smuts, to spark an equal measure of relief and elation in the home dressing-room.
In Bloemfontein meanwhile, Sarel Erwee continued his dominant season with a terrific 108 not out, to hold up the Knights seemingly certain charge to victory. Having been forced to follow on after capitulating to 237 all out, the Dolphins made a better fist of it second time around.
Erwee, who has plundered for the Dolphins in all formats this season, raised 166 with opening partner Morne van Wyk. The veteran – and former Knights star – had reached 58 off 216 balls, when he and his partner were involved in yet another run-out.
Van Wyk’s departure saw Vaughn van Jaarsveld come to the crease, and he saw Erwee through to his century. It took the left-hander 210 balls to get there, but it was the near five hours that mattered more to the Durbanites.
The Dolphins still trail by 54 runs, but they have a further nine wickets in the bag, and a day to salvage an unlikely draw against the defending champions. Erwee will be looking to add considerably to his 108 on the final day.
In Pretoria, the Titans and the Cobras look headed for a stalemate, as both teams refuse to budge. The men from Cape Town hold a slight advantage, given their 82-run lead after the first innings, but they will struggle to manufacture a result against the log-leaders.
The Titans, who entered day three on 168 for three, were bowled out for 346, thanks to a debut half century for Rivaldo Moonsamy, and yet another vital contribution from Heino Kuhn.
Moonsamy, making his franchise four-day bow, notched a promising 76 from 135 balls, studding his knock with eleven boundaries. Given his fluency at the crease, he would have been gutted not to go on and register a debut century for the Titans.
He and Kuhn fell the same way, caught behind off Lizaad Williams, who ended with figures of three for 76. Skipper Dane Piedt, who had helped himself to the first three scalps in the Titans innings, got one more, to finish with four for 81 from 28.4 overs.
The Titans tail also wagged, with Malusi Siboto chipping in with a responsible 38, Eldred Hawken a fluent 20, and Junior Dala a steady 19, to inch the hosts closer to the Cobras total of 428.
On the final day, the men from the Cape will have to decide where the match goes.