The inaugural Super Sixes cricket tournament announced by Cricket South Africa in October 2007 commenced on the weekend, with the news that inclement weather abandoned play without a ball bowled in the Northerns v.s. KwaZulu-Natal fixture, while Free State claimed a home victory over Gauteng, and Boland beat Border in East London.
An expanded 14-team league necessitated the revision of fixtures and playing format at a Cricket Development Workshop in July 2007, where it was decided to split the top teams into two leagues, the Super League and Shield competitions.
Following the completion of the preliminary rounds which ended late in 2007, Boland joined Northerns, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng and Border in the inaugural Super Sixes league.
The surprise omission was powerhouse Western Province, which joins Eastern Province, KwaZulu-Natal Inland, South Western Districts, Easterns, Griqualand West, Mpumalanga and the North West in the eight-team Shield Competition, all of whom will participate in a week-long tournament in Pretoria from 4 – 8 February.
The Super Sixes league winners will be decided on a points basis following a single round of matches, after which the bottom team will face relegation to the Shield competition’s next round, while that tournament’s winner will be promoted to the premier event.
Boland Walk the Talk
With the benefit of carrying 10 points forward from the opening rounds, Boland travelled to Buffalo Park in East London to face Border ( Click here to download the Score Sheet 11.43 Kb), and were invited to bat first after losing the toss.
After losing Y Potgieter early to the bowling of G Fritz, Y van der Westhuizen and A Hodgkinson settled matters with a 50 run partnership, and at the end of their innings, the visitors posted a respectable 202 for the loss of six wickets, S Loubser finishing matters briskly with a six and three boundaries.
In their reply, Border’s top-order batswomen struggled against the power of Boland’s bowlers, losing wickets at regular intervals on the way to an under-par 99 all-out in 38 overs, with extras the only contribution into doubles figures other than A Taai, who’s patient 21 was the innings’ anchor.
M Mackier was the day’s best bowler claiming 3/25 in her allotted overs, while A Smith’s three wickets cost 34 runs in 8.5 overs to bring Border’s innings to a close, and to claim a maximum five-point win, resulting in an opening week top-of-the-log finish for Boland.
Gauteng Cleaned Up in Bloem
In the weekend’s other match, Gauteng chose to bat after winning the toss at Fichardt Park in Bloemfontein ( Click here to download the Score Sheet 11.16 Kb), only to lose openers K Thomson and K Hartnady for a mere five runs on the board.
Matters did not improve for the visitors as wicket after wicket was claimed by eager Free State bowlers, captain S Benade most impressive with 5/17 in 8.1 overs, and Gauteng all-out too early for a total of 73 in the 27th over. M Terblanche top-scored with 23 runs off 45 balls.
Their turn to respond, Free State also lost openers M Adams and S Benade for a meagre total of 14 runs, but after no. 3 A Minny lost her wicket for 10 runs, national captain C-Z Brits (31 off 46 balls) and D Weatherall (12 in 27 balls) finished matters off for a decisive home-side win, reaching the required total inside of the 24th over.
Inaugural Super Sixes Goes On
Another four rounds of Super Sixes matches follow the opening round ( Click here to view the Super Sixes log, after the opening round on 19 January, 2008 10.48 Kb), after which every team will have played each of the other contenders ( Click here to view the season’s leading batswomen and bowlers 10.48 Kb), and the inaugural season’s champion will have been decided.