Birch bowls Warriors to comfortable victory
Posted by: Cricket South Africa on Sunday, 16 March 2014

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ANDREW BIRCH took his match haul to 9 for 108 as the Chevrolet Warriors recorded a 174-run victory over the bizhub Highveld Lions in their Sunfoil Series clash at Axxess St. George’s on Sunday.


Birch claimed three key wickets to go with the scalp he earned on the third evening to record figures of 4 for 83 in the second innings, as the Lions were bowled out for 293.


The result put paid to any hopes the Lions still had of challenging for the title and, in fact, lifted the Warriors above their opponents in the table. The Warriors now sit fourth, less than a point ahead of the Lions in fifth.


The Lions began the final day on 69 for one in their pursuit of an unlikely target of 468, and made a solid start to the day as Stephen Cook and Temba Bavuma extended their partnership to 70.


However, when Bavuma was caught off the bowling of Basheeru-Deen Walters for 39, the Lions collapsed as five wickets went down for 13 runs.


While Colin Ackermann accounted for Neil McKenzie, Birch removed Cook (48), Thami Tsolekile and Brett Pelser in the space of seven deliveries.


Devon Conway rode out the tough period and added 78 for the seventh wicket with Cliffe Deacon, but was eventually trapped lbw by Ackermann for 38 to open up the tail.


Deacon decided that the best course of action was to get as many runs as he could while the innings was still alive and duly took the attack to the Warriors, but Jon-Jon Smuts bowled Hardus Viljoen before the arrival of the second new ball.


The Warriors took the new cherry in the 84th over, and Rusty Theron used it to finish off the match as he bowled Saturday’s hat-trick taker, Pumi Matshikwe, for 32, then trapped Alviro Petersen lbw.


Petersen came in at No. 11 after incurring an injury on day three, but was unable to take Deacon to three figures as the left-hander was left stranded on 96 from 122 deliveries.


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