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De Bruyn back in shape as Titans battle Lions in 4-day action

Theunis de Bruyn decided Saturday was the day to get back into shape as his impressive undefeated innings of 92 put the Northerns Titans in a strong position after the second day of their pivotal CSA 4-Day Series game against the Central Gauteng Lions at SuperSport Park on Saturday.

Responding to the Lions’ first innings of 270, Northerns had reached 261/3 when poor light ended the day’s action with just over an hour left.

De Bruyn, who had scored just 67 runs this season in four previous innings in the competition, came about in the second hour of the day after sacking opener Grant Mokoena for 25, bowled by arguably the ball of the day from Cody Yousuf . The former Proteas batsman played himself hard, failing to reach 16 before lunch.

The Titans’ other opener, Neil Brand, had reached a calm half-century by then and the pair of lanky batsmen rammed home their post-lunch advantage as they took their second wicket partnership to 95 before Brand was caught on a deep square leg on Malusi Siboto for 81. The lefthander played an excellent innings, but bigger things beckon.

De Bruyn blew it and remained on the brink of his first century since May 2021 when he failed 113 from just 64 balls for SA A against Zimbabwe A. He faced 168 deliveries, hitting eight fours and four imperious sixes.

Heinrich Klaasen (35) helped him to a third wicket score of 55 and Sibonelo Makhanya (20*) has added 41 so far with De Bruyn for the fourth wicket.

The Eastern Province Warriors, also trying to overtake the Lions at the top of the list, were also frustrated with the weather in Bloemfontein as they hit 166/3 in response to the Free State Knights’ 227.

Rudi Second (59*) and Diego Rosier (50*) had both scored half a century and shared an unbeaten fourth wicket score of 99, while EP also put itself in a powerful position. If they win their last game and the Lions lose to the Titans, the Warriors will claim the four-day title.

Previously, Free State had resumed at 198/7 and when Patrick Botha was caught behind Tiaan van Vuuren for a challenging and dazzling 123, the rest of the innings quickly folded.

The same bowlers wreaked havoc on Eastern Province as on day one, with Van Vuuren winning 4/46 in 19 overs, splitting Akhona Mnyaka (15-1-54-3) and Mthiwekhaya Nabe (16-3-45-3) the other six wickets.

Scores in brief for other matches

KZN Dolphins 422 (Grant Roelofsen 49, Keegan Petersen 123, Andile Phehlukwayo 107, Prenelan Subrayen 51; Achille Cloete 3/58, Shaun von Berg 3/134) v Boland 129/1 (Pieter Malan 74*, Staan van Zyl 40*).

Western Province 576 (Jonathan Bird 128, Yaseen Vallie 44, Gavin Kaplan 73, Daniel Smith 153, George Linde 70; Delano Potgieter 6/87) v North-West 124/3 (Lesego Senokwane 57*; George Linde 2/33).

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