Rain ruins the Lions' party
Persistent rain throughout the day meant that no play was possible between the bizHub Higveld Lions and the Nashua Titans at the BidVest Wanderers Stadium on Friday. Play was abandoned shortly after tea with only two balls being bowled the entire day.
More rain is forecast for the weekend which is bad news for the Lions who would have been hoping to cash in on some points to narrow the gap at the top of the Sunfoil Series table with a good performance against the beleaguered Titans.
The Titans managed to fight back despite a strong start from the Lions on Thursday and were 25-0, still 278 runs adrift before the heavens opened with Pieter Malan and Jacques Rudolph at the crease.
The Lions were all out for 303 on the first day as Dominic Hendricks, Temba Bavuma and Zander de Bruyn all chipped in with solid knocks, but the Titans fought back with David Wiese picking up three wickets to dismiss the hosts shortly before close of play.
The Titans won the toss and chose to field under cloudy skies and Ethy Mbhalati, playing in his hundredth first class match, made an early breakthrough when he dismissed Stephen Cook for five, as the opener mistimed a shot off his front foot and his stumps went clattering.
Opener Dominic Hendricks and Temba Bavuma then combined and raced to a 112-run partnership, including a late charge from Bavuma which saw the right-hander whack four fours in the over before lunch off the bowling of Juan de Villiers.
Both batsmen had notched up their fifties with Hendricks going to the break unbeaten on 51 off 86 while Bavuma was on 56 off 63 thanks to his onslaught as the pair took their team to lunch on 124-1. Rowan Richards struck shortly after lunch, dismissing Bavuma who edged through to the keeper after the bowler foxed him and drew him forward in his crease.
Bavuma had to depart after a brisk 62 off 73 balls. Hendricks followed after adding 74 off 135 after missing a sweep of Roelof van der Merwe and the batsman was caught leg before. Neil McKenzie then failed to make an impact as he was out for 12 off David Wiese's bowling as the Lions continued to slump just a little bit after the break.
Thami Tsolekile managed just 23 before he got a delivery which bounced a touch more than expected and was caught in the gully. Wickets continued to tumble and it was just de Bruyn's late rally of 65 off 140 balls which helped the Lions get to a par score when he combined for a 41-run tenth wicket partnership with Imran Tahir before being dismissed leg-before off von Berg's bowling.
Report Day 1
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS: Stephen Cook (capt), Dominic Hendricks (wk), Temba Bavuma, Neil McKenzie, Zander De Bruyn, Thami Tsolekile, Brett Pelser, Cliffe Deacon, Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Imran Tahir.
NASHUA TITANS: Jacques Rudolph, Pieter Malan, Henry Davids (capt), Heino Kuhn, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), David Wiese, Shaun Von Berg, Ehty Mbhalati, Juan de Villiers, Rowan Richards, Roelof van der Merwe.