THE Chevrolet Warriors got their Sunfoil Series cricket campaign off to the best possible start when they beat defending champions the Nashua Titans by 161 runs at Axxess St George’s yesterday.
Set an unlikely victory target of 414 to win the match, the Titans offered stiff resistance before they were finally dismissed for 252 by the home team on the final day.
The Warriors’ heroes were pace bowlers Gurshwin Rabie (5/61) and Andrew Birch (4/57) who tore the heart out of the Titans’ batting line-up.
At one stage it appeared as though the game might be over before lunch after the Titans lost two wickets in the first two overs to leave them reeling at 41/5.
But Heino Kuhn (89) and David Wiese (79) made the Warriors sweat for their victory with a fighting sixth- wicket stand of 177, which delayed the home team’s victory celebrations.
The Warriors clinched their win at 2.20pm when a jubilant Birch trapped Rowan Richards leg before wicket for a duck.
Just when the Warriors might have been starting to worry about whether they would be able to claim the wickets needed for victory, spinner Simon Harmer and paceman Rabie struck in successive overs to dismiss Kuhn and Wiese.
Kuhn’s fighting innings included 15 sparkling boundaries, while the determined Wiese hammered 12 boundaries during a brave effort to keep the Warriors at bay.
It was an impressive allround performance by the Warriors who are determined to improve their recent record in four-day cricket.
Last season, the Warriors struggled in the competition, winning just two of their 10 matches and losing seven.
The writing was on the wall for the Titans when CJ de Villiers was caught by wicketkeeper Athi Dyili for a duck shortly after Kuhn and Wiese’s big partnership had been broken. At that stage, the visitors were 226/8.
When the struggling Titans resumed batting yesterday morning, Rabie soon had Pieter Malan caught in the slips for seven, which reduced the Titans to 41/4 against a fired- up home attack. Further disaster struck the Titans innings in the next over when Birch uprooted Henry Davids’s stumps to leave the visitors reeling at 41/5.
That brought Kuhn and Wiese together and they began to try and dig their team out of trouble and save the match.
A mixture of defence and controlled aggression by the pair allowed the Titans to reach 176/5 at the lunch break as the home attack toiled away manfully in search of a vital breakthrough.
The Warriors were put in a strong position on Saturday by openers Michael Price (105) and Davy Jacobs (103) who put on 201 for the first wicket to enable the home team to declare their second innings on an impressive 353/5.
ýIn Johannesburg, seamer Chris Morris claimed 8/44 as the Highveld Lions defeated the Dolphins by 53 runs.
Needing 241 to win, the Dolphins started the last day on 149/7, but had no answer to Morris as they were dismissed for 187, the tall bowler claiming a match analysis of 40.1-9-101-12.
ýIn Paarl, the match between the Cape Cobras and the Knights was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of wet weather. – Additional reporting by Sapa