So close, but oh so far for Sinethemba
Young Warriors star Sinethemba Qeshile on Wednesday joined an unwanted list that batsman all over the world get cold sweats just thinking about.
Playing in only his fourth match for the Eastern Cape franchise, the 19-year-old former Hudson Park schoolboy moved to within one run of his maiden first-class hundred and then got out.
Making 99 is cruelly neither here nor there.
You have batted well to get there, but then you feel you have let yourself down for not getting that extra run.
Qeshile will be bitterly disappointed he could not get over the line, but will soon realise just how important his innings was in the team context.
Because of his efforts, coupled with those of Sisanda Magala with the bat and the top order before them on Tuesday, the Warriors were able to make 457 to enjoy a 178-run lead on the first innings in their 4-Day Franchise Series match against the Knights at St George’s Park on Wednesday.
When the umpires called time, the Knights had knocked off a large part of the deficit, having reached 154 for four wickets.
They still need a further 24 to make the Warriors bat again on what will be the final day on Thursday.
At the crease for the visitors are Pite van Biljon on 58 and Andries Gous with 12.
Day three started with Qeshile and Magala at the crease with the total on 329 for seven.
That was a narrow advantage of only 50 runs and it needed some solid application to make it grow into a substantial lead.
The duo provided just that in posting 87 for the eighth wicket, with Magala getting 36 of those.
He provided solid assistance to Qeshile, who was superb to watch once again.
When he was not driving through covers or punching through the leg side, he was playing cheeky reverse sweeps off the spinner for four.
He copped some verbals from Knights players, but stood firm until the over after lunch, when he succumbed, caught by Keegan Petersen in the gully off the wily bowling of Duane Olivier for that 99.
He was looking on track to get his hundred before lunch, but some clever delaying by the Knights ensured he was short of the mark at the break.
He stroked 12 fours in his 187-ball stay at the crease.
It is probably the last thing he wants to hear, but Qeshile will learn from the experience and when one takes into account his obvious class there will be many more opportunities down the line.
Olivier was good value for the Knights, taking four wickets in the innings, with Otneill Baartman and offspinner Tshepo Ntuli grabbing two each.
When the Knights’ second innings came around, Anrich Nortje charged in with the bit between his teeth and bowled quickly.
He enjoyed early success, finding the edge of Grant Mokoena’s bat through to wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin for his seventh wicket of the match.
Sipamla then switched ends and replaced Nortje at the Duckpond End and struck almost immediately, bowling Petersen for 15.
Luthando Mnyanda played well for his 52 and then surrendered his wicket, skying a Simon Harmer delivery for Magala to take a well-judged catch over his right shoulder at mid-on.
Sipamla was in the action again as Magala took a sharp catch off his bowling in the gully to get rid of danger man Rudi Second for seven.
Meanwhile, a century by Dean Elgar led a strong reply by the Multiply Titans on day three of their 4-Day Domestic Series Jukskei derby against the bizhub Highveld Lions in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.
The Standard Bank Proteas opener enjoyed a welcome return to form by striking 128 (200 balls, 19 fours, 1 six) as the visitors were bowled out for 419 shortly before stumps at Senwes Park.
Jonathan Vandiar and Shaun von Berg also hit halfcenturies for the defending champions, who trailed by 111 runs as they replied strongly to the hosts’ 530.
A brilliant late burst by Dane Paterson left the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in a mess after the third day of their 4Day Domestic Series encounter against the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The Proteas quick claimed four for 51 – three of those wickets coming in six balls – as the visitors were left limping to stumps on 265 for seven, a lead of 153.
The late strikes undid the earlier hard work by Dane Vilas, Sibonelo Makhanya and Sarel Erwee, who all hit halfcenturies. -Additional reporting CricketSA