EP come out tops in second thrilling encounter with KZN

Neale Emslie

EASTERN Province and KwaZulu-Natal produced their second exciting finish of the weekend, with the home team, this time, finishing on top in their CSA Provincial Twenty20 cricket fixture at Axxess St George's.

On Saturday at Old Grey, the visitors had emerged victorious in a tight finish to their three-day game, winning by eight runs, but yesterday, EP got home by three wickets with one ball remaining.

Yesterday, KwaZulu-Natal batted first after winning the toss, but were restricted to 138/7 in their 20 overs, thanks to some good bowling by Lionel Vaaltyn, Basheer Walters and Sisanda Magala, especially in the closing overs.

Senuran Muthusamy played an important role for KwaZulu-Natal with 46 not out, but the visiting batsmen were never able to seize real control.

Legspinner Vaaltyn conceded a six only in his last over and put a brake on the scoring by taking 2/24 in four overs.

Magala was as impressive, taking two wickets in his second spell to finish with 2/13 in three overs, and Walters claimed 1/25 in four overs.

Vaaltyn (14) and Magala (28) also shone with the bat when EP were tottering at 97/7, adding 44 in five overs for the eighth wicket to take the home side to victory off the penultimate delivery of the match.

Magala struck his runs off just 16 deliveries, hitting three fours and a six, while 20s from David White, Colin Ackermann and Attie Dyili kept EP in the hunt for their first win in the Twenty20 competition.

ýOn Saturday, Muthusamy (113) and Brandon Scullard (6/43) excelled with bat and ball to give KwaZulu-Natal a thrilling eight-run win in the three-day fixture at Old Grey.

The final result represented a remarkable comeback by the visitors, who trailed by 96 runs on the first innings and were in dire straits at 58/5 in their second innings. It was then that Muthusamy was joined by skipper Abdul Razak and initiated a recovery which saw EP requiring a victory target of 173 in their second innings.

Muthusamy, who came in the with score on 2/1, batted almost the entire innings for a matchwinning knock of 113 and then new-ball bowler Scullard took over as EP were dismissed for 164 in their victory bid.

In tandem with opening partner Daryn Dupavillon, Scullard reduced EP to 17/4 in their second innings and it was only an 80-run stand between Ackermann (63) and Dyili (41) that EP managed to get close.

They were dismissed in the space of five runs as the home side slid to 133/7. Although Warren Bell (21) came close to taking EP to victory, Scullard had the final say when he caught and bowled Bell to complete a remarkable recovery.