NEEDING to produce a winning performance, Western Province powered their way to 274/3 on the opening day of their CSA Provincial three-day cricket match against Eastern Province at Axxess St George’s yesterday.
Even the loss of about 2½ hours to rain did not prevent the visitors taking control of proceedings, spearheaded by Alastair Gray, who smashed 92 from 93 balls.
WP are vying with North West for the title and will need a good performance against EP because their rivals are doing well in Potchefstroom. Having bowled Northerns out for 204, North West went briskly to 131/0 by the close. They trail WP by just a single point, with this being the final round.
WP were also in a hurry, attacking the EP bowling from the outset and scoring their runs in 65 overs.
The experienced Gray hit the bowling almost at will, clubbing 13 fours and three sixes in his knock. He was well within reach of a century before becoming a little ambitious after hitting Solomzi Nqweni for two sixes in an over. A third attempted big hit resulted only in a skied catch, well taken by Johan Smit.
But it did little to hinder WP’s progress as Matthew Kleinveldand Pieter Malan contributed 82 and 72 respectively. Kleinveldt and Gray added 149 for the opening wicket in 30 overs, followed by a second-wicket stand of 71. – Neale Emslie