Warriors on verge of victory

SPEEDY DELIVERY: Warriors bowler Basheer Walters sends a fast ball to Heino Kuhn, of the Titans, during their Sunfoil Series match at St George’s Park yesterday. Hopes are high that the home side can comfortably wrap up victory in quick fashion today. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
SPEEDY DELIVERY: Warriors bowler Basheer Walters sends a fast ball to Heino Kuhn, of the Titans, during their Sunfoil Series match at St George’s Park yesterday. Hopes
are high that the home side can comfortably wrap up victory in quick fashion today. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

Klaasen and Morkel put brakes on hopes for win on third day of match

The Warriors head into today’s final day of their Sunfoil Series cricket fixture against the Titans at St George’s Park pushing for their opening victory of the season.

Their march to victory on the third day yesterday was thwarted temporarily by a superb, fighting 100-run stand for the Titans’ ninth wicket by wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen (97 not out) and Morne Morkel (36).

But in the end, the Warriors were set 105 runs for victory after dismissing the Titans for 235 in their second innings, 20 minutes before the close of play.

And when stumps were drawn after two overs, they had reached 19 without loss.

They will need a further 86 runs today to claim the win.

Resuming the innings for the home team today will be Eddie Moore on 19 and Michael Price, who has yet to score.

Klaasen stood tall for the visitors and was desperately unlucky not to reach three figures.

His 214-minute innings included 10 fours and two sixes off 146 balls.

Morkel played his role, too, for almost two hours, facing 61 balls while striking five fours and a six.

Home captain Simon Harmer was the pick of the bowlers collecting four wickets for 63 runs, with Andrew Birch and Basheer Walters claiming two scalps each.

Trailing by 131 runs on the first innings, the Titans were poor with the bat until just after tea when they found themselves at 108 for eight in their second innings and still 23 runs short of making the home team bat again.

But the stand of 100 between Klaasen and No 10 Morkel ensured the Warriors will have to don the pads again today.

The Warriors are favourites to win, but with Morkel in the opposition attack and looking to make a point before the Proteas depart for Australia on Sunday, they will need to have their wits about them.

Klaasen has enjoyed a good game batting in the middle order.

He scored 40 in the first innings to add to his unbeaten 97.

With the gloves, he earned seven dismissals behind the wicket to fall one short of the South African first-class record of eight held by Athi Dyili, Rudi Second and Thami Tsolekile.

Earlier, the Warriors had resumed their first innings on 295 for six and 68 runs ahead.

Clyde Fortuin (18) and Simon Harmer (4) resumed the innings and Fortuin struck a couple of boundaries before he edged Morkel to wicketkeeper Klaasen for 28.

The tally included five boundaries.

Harmer did not add to his overnight score before he became Morkel’s third wicket of the innings. Andrew Birch (19) and Sisanda Magala (15 not out) clubbed three boundaries each before Birch was caught off the bowling of Malusi Siboto.

Legspinner Shaun von Berg wrapped up the innings and claimed his third wicket when he had Basheer Walters stumped.

Morkel finished with figures of three for 54 in 26 overs, while Von Berg returned an analysis of three for 84 in 29 overs.

Meanwhile, twin centuries by Pite van Biljon and Rudi Second have placed the VKB Knights in pole position to win their Sunfoil Series clash against the BuildNat Cape Cobras in Bloemfontein.

By the close of day three, the Cobras faced an uphill battle to save the match thanks to the efforts of the two Knights batsmen.

Set 444 to win, the Cobras finished on 127 for two wickets, still a massive 317 adrift of what would be an unlikely victory.

At the crease for the visitors are Zubayr Hamza (52) and Stiaan van Zyl (5).

Matthew Kleinveldt got their chase off to a fast start with 54 runs from 64 balls with nine fours until he was caught by Michael Erlank off the bowling of Shadley van Schalkwyk.

The other wicket to fall was that of captain Omphile Ramela (9) as Van Schalkwyk turned catcher off the bowling of Marchant de Lange.

Earlier in the day, soon after tea, the Knights were dismissed for 342 in their second innings, exactly the same as their first innings total.

Van Biljon and Second were supreme in their second dig and their partnership of 203 for the fourth wicket was the mainstay of the innings.

Second was first to reach his 11th first-class century and was eventually out for 106 after a 222-minute stay.

He faced 154 balls, striking 15 fours and two sixes.

He fell to Cobras’ seamer Jason Smith with the total on 246.

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