Mpumalanga put the KwaZulu Natal Inland Women in to bat after winning the toss on Saturday, and exploited their familiarity with home conditions to bowl the visitors out for a meagre 144, before getting home in shaky fashion to record their first win of the season.
After their match against KwaZulu Natal last week, also in Witbank, was rained out, Mpumalanga made the most of Saturday’s year-end fixture against KwaZulu Natal Inland, in what became a battle of the captains.
Mpumalanga’s captain E Breytenbach chose to field against KwaZulu Natal Inland, and was rewarded with the wickets of S Ferreira and no. 3 J Shaikjee, both for ducks, before KZN-I had a run on the board.
Taking three wickets at a cost of 13 runs, E Breytenbach’s biggest worry was her change bowlers, with A Ponting and E Landsberg the most expensive (three wickets between them), as Mpumalanga gifted KZN-I their second highest score of 46 runs in extras.
KZN’s third- and fourth-wicket partnerships were most valuable for them, adding a measured 92 runs, but after K Naidoo had both C Cannon and P Payne caught off her bowling, KZN-I lost regular wickets, and were eventually skittled out for 144 with more than nine overs to go.
Mpumalanga’s openers hung around for a while, but after F McEvilly was bowled by S Ferreira, opener-keeper V Badenhorst partnered no. 3 K Naidoo for an impressive 55-run partnership.
Once the Badenhorst – Naidoo partnership had been broken, KZN-Inland took revenge, claiming 5 wickets for 9 runs, before the second-last partnership E Landsberg and T Mahlangu came together to secure a first win for Mpumalanga.
In a day of high drama, Mpumalanga will be glad to have registered their first points on the log (other than from an match abandoned result), but KwaZulu Natal Inland will be disappointed that they weren’t able to take better first advantage on the batting strip.
Mpumalanga finish the first half of the season second from bottom of the Inland League log, with Limpopo at the bottom without a win in four matches.
KwaZulu Natal Inland settle for Christmas neatly in the middle of the log with 10 points from two wins in five matches, with Gauteng and Northerns above them on 12 and 16 points respectively, but with a game in hand.
KwaZulu Natal may spend the festive break at the top of the Inland league, but a slim one point advantage over Northerns with three wins from five matches will be disappointing for them. North-West end their season with two wins from four just below KwaZulu Natal Inland’s halfway-mark, and will feel emboldened to make further progress once play recommences on Saturday 13 January, 2007.
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Results* for Saturday 25 November, 2006
Mpumalanga v KZN-Inland (Witbank)
KZN-I 144 a/o in 40.5 overs (P Payne 57, E Breytenbach 3-13)
Mpu 145-8 in 46.5 overs (K Naidoo 45, C Cannon 3-24)
Mpumalanga won by 2 wickets
* All results courtesy Andrew Samson, Official Cricket SA Statistician