Cape Town — Is the sleeping giant Western Province awaking from its slumber?
Having marginally had the better of the rained out draw at Centurion last week against the defending Cricket South Africa 4-Day Series champions the Titans, Province overwhelmed neighbours the Rocks in three days at Newlands on Saturday.
Beset in recent seasons by petty administrative problems, WP stopped being the dominant force in SA cricket that they once were. With the restructuring of the domestic system, WP lost the likes of the Malan (Pieter and Janneman) brothers, Jason Smith and Ziyaad Abrahams.
Now, in their second season under coach Salieg Nackerdien, WP have built a strong and experienced bowling unit, comprising of Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson and George Linde – who all have Test experience – along with the explosive left-arm quick, Nandre Burger, and another experienced local Tshepo Moreki.
The top of the batting order also contains experience in the shape of Tony de Zorzi, Eddie Moore and Yaseen Vallie, along with Proteas Test wicket-keeper/batter Kyle Verreynne. This was in stark contrast to WP’s youthful line-up that was seen in the recent CSA T20 Challenge.
The innings and 210-run victory against the Rocks started with the bat, with De Zorzi making 163 and Verreynne continuing his excellent start to the four-day series with an unbeaten 201.
Then the bowlers stepped to the fore, dismissing the Rocks for 202 in the first innings, with Moreki and Paterson each taking three wickets. The 33-year-old Paterson, who helped Nottinghamshire win the county championship division 2 title this past winter, claimed three more wickets in the second innings, with Burger, Hendricks and Linde claiming two each.
“It’s our first four-day win as WP in about two years, so that means quite a lot to us,” Verreynne said.
“We were chatting in the slips before we got the last wicket, about just how special a four-day win is, and to get this victory as convincingly as we did is a really good feeling.
“I think if you have four seamers like we do, it’s really easy to make changes. There always seems to be an option whenever you are looking for something.
“The message to them was to keep it simple, stick to the basics, and that’s exactly what they did. It was a massive task for them, I think we bowled over 120 overs on the trot there with the follow-on, but I felt like the energy was always up.”
Meanwhile, at St George’s Park, the Warriors maintained their 100% start to the season to entrench their position at the top of the standings with a come-from-behind 69-run win over the Dolphins.
The Titans, also produced a wire-to-wire display of dominance to destroy the Knights by an innings and 142 runs.
At the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, the Lions closed out a 123-run victory over North West Dragons with Sisanda Magala bagging 4/34 to seal the victory.
Delano Potgieter put up a fight with an undefeated 81, but fought a lone battle as the Dragons were bundled out for 273.