Sipamla fires for Lions as batters rule for WP, Warriors and Dragons

Lutho Sipamla claimed four wickets for the Lions against the Titans in Centurion yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Lutho Sipamla claimed four wickets for the Lions against the Titans in Centurion yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Feb 22, 2024

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The eagerly-awaited return of Test bowler Lutho Sipamla was among the highlights of the opening day of the Four-Day Series clash between the Lions and Titans in Centurion yesterday.

Lions fast bowler Sipamla has fully recovered from a back injury that had kept him out of professional cricket for almost eight months.

For a quick who had not played any top-level cricket since June last year when South Africa A toured Sri Lanka, the 25-year-old hit the ground running yesterday and made full use of the bowler-friendly conditions at SuperSport Park.

Sipamla has understandably lost pace and looked to be cautious on his return to bowling, but his figures of 4-48 helped the Lions bowl the Titans out for 227.

Stand-in captain Sibonelo Makhanya’s 66 off 106 balls (10x4) was the only significant effort with the bat from the Titans, while Matthew Kleinveldt’s 93-ball 45 provided a foundation for Makhanya to build on.

In reply, the Titans’ Dayyaan Galiem took the new ball and quickly went to work as he beat opening batters Dominic Hendricks and Joshua Richards for pace as light began to fade in the final session of the day.

After a barrage of bouncers, Galiem got the better of Hendricks (6) with a short ball that saw the left-handed batter get a top edge, with wicket-keeper Rivaldo Moonsamy taking the catch to hand the Titans their first scalp.

Junior Dala came into the attack as a first-change option and quickly got into the wickets as he dismissed Wandile Makwetu cheaply.

Makwetu looked to pierce the cover region with a back-foot drive, but only managed to lob the ball to Makhanya at extra cover for 5.

Corbin Bosch produced a fiery spell to wrap up the day’s play and leave the match perfectly balanced.

The right-arm quick caused Richards a lot of problems before umpire Bongani Jele intervened and asked captain Makhanya to bowl a spinner for the last over of the day due to bad light.

The Lions will start today on 33-2, with Ryan Rickelton (5*) and Richards (13*) hoping to help them eat into the 194-run first-innings deficit.

* At Newlands, youngster Daniel Smith scored a superb hundred as Western Province made an excellent start to their encounter against defending champions the Dolphins.

Smith scored 106 off 173 balls (18x4). Proteas Test batter Tony de Zorzi opened the batting alongside Smith and scored a 139-ball 72, a knock that included eight boundaries.

WP will resume on 399-3 today, with Gavin Kaplan (93*) and Kyle Verreynne (60*) looking to get the hosts to an even better position.

* In Pietermaritzburg, Tristan Stubbs made full use of his third innings batting at No 4 for the Warriors by scoring 208 not out off 268 balls (with 26 fours and three sixes) against bottom-of-the-log KZN Tuskers.

Warriors captain Matthew Breetzke (141*) brought up his first century of the season in a mammoth 348-run third-wicket partnership with Stubbs as the Eastern Cape outfit made 368-2.

The pair produced the highest partnership of the season to give the Warriors hope of a massive victory and a spot in the final.

* In Paarl, batter Lesego Senokwane expertly carved out his second century of the season (137 off 262 balls, 18x4) to put the North West Dragons in a commanding position in their encounter with the Rocks at Boland Park. The Dragons will resume day two on 338-6.

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