Boland Stretched But Keep on Winning

Boland Cricket is enjoying a run of good form, but were made to sweat for the first time to consolidate their advantage at the top of the domestic women’s premier Super Sixes league when they visited KwaZulu-Natal at the Chatsworth Oval, in Durban on Saturday.

Put in to bat by the home side in circumstances likely to favour the bowling side, Boland’s opening pair of Yolandi’s struggled to achieve four runs each before losing their wickets, Potgieter the first to go bowled D Devnarian, before her namesake Van der Westhuizen was caught by Olivia Anderson off the bowling of J Hambrook.

It wasn’t long before no. three Alison Hodgkinson was also back in the hut, caught R Maharaj also off the bowling of Hambrook, who secured her team’s best bowling for the match, her figures three for 41 in eight overs.

But there was no further cause for celebration among the KwaZulu-Natal ladies as Claire Terblanche (64 off 119 balls) and Alicia Smith (67 off 76 balls) came together for the first of two significant partnerships, Audrey Petersen (52* off 56 balls) replacing Smith when she fell to keeper Trishia Chetty off Hambrook’s bowling in the 32nd over.

After the fourth wicket partnership of 111 in 162 balls between Terblanche and Smith came a quick-fire 67 in 80 balls between Terblanche and Petersen, and when Sunette Loubser fell cheaply run-out by H Wheeler, Petersen and Beth Cartledge finished off Boland’s innings for an relatively safe innings total of 236 for six.

In reply, KwaZulu-Natal opening pair N Ramnatha and a belligerent Chetty set off in confident mode, bringing their half-century partnership in the 11th over, the team’s landmark preceding the partnership’s close six balls later when Chetty fell (45 runs in 32 balls) caught Ashlyn Kilowan off the bowling of Loubser.

Thirty-five runs and twelve overs later, Nathanael Christiaans broke through again for Boland, when she caught Ramnatha off her own bowling to reduce the home side to 95 for two in the 25th over.

J Viljoen couldn’t trouble the scorers before she departed when she played in the air to Kilowan off Christiaans’ bowling, but her wicket brought S Fritz to the wicket to join Olivia Anderson in the centre, and the two batswomen settled down to compile KZN’s second half-century partnership at a brisk pace, their 51 also taking 65 balls to achieve.

The two continued their fruitful partnership (84 in 96 balls) until the 42nd over, when Anderson was run-out by Alicia Smith with the score on 179, with a remarkable win requiring just another 57 runs. But four overs later Fritz was caught Van der Westhuizen off the bowling of Smith, and her wicket preceded a collapse of agonising proportions.

With five wickets down and a mere 39 runs for victory, the KwaZulu-Natal lower-order batters were struck by the dreaded run-out virus, with four of the final five wickets lost with batswomen not able to make their ground, all for the addition of only 28 runs, and asking total missed by a slim 11 runs in the final over.

Best bowling by the visiting Boland side was shared between Christiaans and Kilowan, each claiming two wickets in nine overs, but the Cape side returned home knowing that they were stretched for victory for the first time in the inaugural Super Sixes league.

Boland will thank their bowlers for conceding only a relatively small total of 14 extras, while the quick batting of Petersen, Smith and Loubser was key in putting on the extra few runs which earned them their four log points.

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