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Eagles take first leg advantage

The Chevrolet Warriors succumbed to the rain and the Gestetner Diamond Eagles as they lost the first leg of their Standard Bank Pro20 semifinal by nine wickets with 11 balls to spare in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

While the Warriors innings was badly affected by rain midway through and Duckworth/Lewis never really gave them much hope, few would begrudge the Eagles their win as they had outplayed the visitors convincingly in the early parts of both innings.

Set 105 to win in 14 overs, the Eagles raced to 105 for one in 12.1 overs as Boeta Dippenaar, so often the bulwark of their batting, took the attack to the bowlers as he breezed to 53 not out off 37 balls.

Off-spinner Johan Botha did manage to dismiss Dippenaar's opening partner, Adrian McLaren, in his first over for a run-a-ball 18, but Morne van Wyk then put the beleaguered Warriors bowlers to the sword as he carved 30 not out off just 18 deliveries.

The Warriors batsmen were earlier stymied by rain and an inspired Diamond Eagles attack as they could only manage 100 for six in their 14 overs.

All the excitement had come from the Eagles bowlers as they reduced the Warriors to 59 for three in the 10th over when the rain made its entry.

Opener Justin Kreusch had been the one bulwark against the Eagles' splendid use of the new ball as he scored 30 off 28 balls.

The Eagles had already taken the top off the Warriors innings by the time play was delayed for an hour-and-a-half, removing three key batsmen in Robin Peterson (12), Colin Ingram (2) and Ashwell Prince (14).

Prince lost his head just two balls before rain stopped play, edging a huge hoick at Shadley van Schalkwyk's first ball when it probably would have been best to have a little look first.

CJ de Villiers (4-0-16-1), who was the pick of the bowlers, swung the new ball impressively and kept a tight line. He then ensured the pressure created did tell as Peterson flashed at a shortish delivery outside off stump and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Van Wyk.

The 23-year-old Ingram looked like a scared hare in the floodlights and the two Ryans - Bailey and McLaren (3-0-17-2) - combined to kill him off, Bailey hanging on to a sharp catch at backward point.

The Warriors returned to the crease with the match having been reduced to 14 overs a side, meaning they had just 27 balls remaining in their innings.

Much depended on captain Davey Jacobs, but he could only score a single on his team's behalf before he skied the fourth ball after the break, from medium-pacer Bailey, straight up.

Kreusch and Craig Thyssen (5) were also shot out in the next two overs to leave the Warriors on 83 for six heading into the final over. But Arno Jacobs sent a slog sweep and a crunching off-drive like bullets to the boundary and a heave over midwicket for six for good measure.

Duckworth/Lewis took a dim view of Arno's late heroics, however, and the Warriors were credited with just four more runs, and the side that finished top of the round-robin log have now conceded the advantage against the fourth-placed team. The Warriors will return to Port Elizabeth knowing they have to lift themselves to win Sunday's second leg.

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