Cape Town — Western Province went from a high-scoring bonanza in Bloemfontein to a low-scoring thriller at Newlands on Friday.
Fresh off a record-breaking 366/7, Province limped over the line by three wickets in pursuit of North West’s paltry 172 all out.
The home team required all the experience of all-rounder George Linde to ensure it was Province that head into the weekend entrenched on top of the Cricket SA Division 1 table.
Linde was the blueprint of the contrast between the two matches. At the Mangaung Oval, the powerful left-hander smashed 70 off just 32 balls.
At Newlands, he required 82 balls for his undefeated 44. In context, though, this was far more valuable as it took WP home by three wickets.
“We are playing well as a team. It’s not just one guy, it’s been the unit,” Linde said. “I take my hat off to the bowling unit… obviously the batting wasn’t as good today, but it was a difficult wicket.
“I just told myself that I need to get the team over the line. As I said, it was a difficult wicket. It was difficult to come in and play your shots. My game is not to score 44 off 80-odd balls, but it had to be done and I’m glad it could be done.”
Young Gavin Kaplan also stroked a meaningful 44, but it was Beuran Hendricks that provided Linde with companionship when the pressure became intense in the middle with the tailender finishing unbeaten on 17 from 22 balls.
It was a near-perfect game for Linde, who had earlier claimed 4/34 to help skittle the Dragons. Seamer Tshepo Moreki also bagged a credible 3/27.
The left-arm spinner bowled with good control and confidence and is certainly starting to resemble the player that was such a key component of the Proteas white-ball teams not too long ago.
It certainly bodes well for Province as they look to carry on the momentum against arch-rivals the Titans on Sunday at Newlands.
“The Titans are a good unit. We played them in the four-day competition, and we were on top in that game,” he said.
“We are pretty confident to face them right now. I know they have good players, but so do we. I think it’s going to be a really good game.
Further positive news for Wayne Parnell’s team is the possible return to fitness of in-form seamer Nandre Burger after the left-armer missed the last two matches against the Knights and North West.