The senior Inland cricket side gave itself the perfect Christmas gift by shooting to the top of the CSA one-day standings after beating Northerns in their 50-over match yesterday. To add to the joy of Inland, the team also scored a pulsating win over Northerns in their three-day game in Pretoria.
The one-day match was supposed to be played on Sunday, but was postponed till yesterday in view of the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela. In what turned out to be a one-sided encounter, Inland won by five wickets with more than 14 overs to spare.
Batting first, Northerns were bowled out for 189 under 40 overs with the wickets being shared by Matthew Pillans (3/37) , Kyle Nipper (2/39) and Yusuf Abdullah (2/41), as well as two run-outs. A feature was the extras that accounted for a misererly three runs.
Inland set about the chase in a hurry with Bradley Moses (42) anchoring the innings. SJ Erwee (17) and Tyler Lortan (19) wasted little time to allow Shane Burger (62 not out) and Ruan Pretorius (27) to see Inland comfortably home with a full haul of points. Inland shares top spot with Gauteng, both on 22 points, but trailing by a .343 difference in run rate. The log leaders are two points ahead of KZN Coastals and four points ahead of Eastern Province and SWD
The three-game went down to the wire before Inland got home with one wicket to spare. Having dimissed their hosts for 145 in the first innings with Graham Hume picking up five wickets for 26 runs, Kyle Nipper (92) and Bradey Moses (46) steered the Inland innings to 249 for a crucial 104-run lead. Northerns managed 219 in their second innings, leaving Inland the relatively easy task of chasing down a 110-run target.
It proved to be a nail-biting chase with Abram Ndhlovu top scoring with 39 and wickets falling at an alarming rate before Ruan Pienaar and Mathhew Pillens steadied the ship to see Inland home. The win catapulted Inland to sixth place on the log.