THE Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras moved to the brink of back-to-back Sunfoil Series titles after they beat the Chevrolet Warriors by 184 runs at Sahara Park Newlands on Sunday.
STIAAN VAN ZYL hit his third century of the season to guide the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras to a strong total on the first day of their Sunfoil Series clash with the Chevrolet Warriors at Sahara Park Newlands.
Van Zyl’s unbeaten 116 took his run tally for the season to 879, putting him in a position to become the first batsman in four years to score 1 000 four-day runs in a season.
The 26-year-old’s innings also helped to dig the Cobras out of trouble, as they recovered from 73 for four to close the day on 282 for five, having been asked to bat first by the Warriors.
The decision by Warriors captain Ashwell Prince, who is playing his final game for his franchise, was a straightforward one given the large amount of rain that had fallen in Cape Town over the previous four days.
Andrew Birch and Rusty Theron duly took advantage of the early movement as Birch had Omphile Ramela caught and Theron dismissed both Andrew Puttick and Justin Ontong.
When Yaseen Vallie was caught behind off the bowling of Basheeru-Deen Walters, the Cobras had lost four wickets in the opening session and were in danger of being bowled out cheaply - something they could ill-afford given how tight their title race with the Chevrolet Knights has become.
However, Van Zyl stood up under pressure once again, and found a willing ally in Dane Vilas.
As the pitch began to even out under increasingly sunny skies, the pair put on 163 for the fifth wicket before Vilas was finally dismissed by David White for 86.
Justin Kemp accompanied Van Zyl through the final hour of the day, and was unbeaten on 30 when stumps were called.
THE Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras will be without fast bowler Vernon Philander for what coach Paul Adams expects will be a seam-friendly Sunfoil Series affair against the Chevrolet Warriors at Sahara Park Newlands.
With Cape Town receiving a heavy dose of rain in the four days leading up to Thursday’s encounter, Adams expects the seamers to benefit and so Philander would have been an extremely handy addition to the side now that his Proteas duties have concluded.
However, the paceman has been granted compassionate leave due to a death in his family, leaving Adams to ponder whether he should change the make-up of his bowling attack, which included two spinners in the last outing.
“We might look to tweak it, but I prefer to make a call on the morning of the game,” said Adams.
“I think conditions will aid seam very much with all the moisture around, especially as there hasn’t been much sun in the last few days.”
The Cobras will go into the clash with the same squad that lost to the Chevrolet Knights two weeks ago - a result that has left the fate of the Sunfoil Series very much in the balance.
The Knights now trail the Cobras by less than five points with two rounds of matches remaining, and the Warriors feel that they are in good form after their 174-run victory over the bizhub Highveld Lions two weeks ago.
“We’re also excited to go and play at Newlands because we haven’t played there since 2008, I think,” said Warriors coach Piet Botha. “We’ve always played our four-day cricket in Paarl, so that’s a new challenge for us.”
Off-spinner Simon Harmer will return to the Warriors side after serving his one-match suspension, and will come in for Colin Ingram, who is sitting out following the birth of his child.
THE Chevrolet Knights ensured that the Sunfoil Series will go right down to the wire after they beat the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras by five wickets at the Diamond Oval to close the gap between the top two franchises in the competition.
The Knights needed to chase 110 to win on the final day of the match, and achieved the target in 33 overs with their top five all contributing just enough to avoid an unhealthy amount of tension in the dressing room.
The result gave the Knights 16.16 points to the Cobras’ 4.94, which put them within five points of the table-topping Cobras with two games to play.
With the Sunfoil Dolphins’ game against The Unlimited Titans rained off and the bizhub Highveld Lions losing over the weekend, the Sunfoil Series is effectively down to a two-horse race.
The fourth day was delayed by a wet outfield on Sunday morning, but the Knights only needed a session to wrap up the game in any case.
They lost Gihahn Cloete after a cautious start that left them seven for one in the ninth over, but Reeza Hendricks (23) and Rilee Rossouw (24) took the score to 53 over the next 12 overs to settle the nerves.
Both batsmen fell in the space of 10 balls, with Rossouw bowled by Kleinveldt and Hendricks caught behind off the bowling of Dane Piedt, but Gerhardt Abrahams contributed 20 and Rudi Second scored 19 not out as both batsmen hit a six apiece to show that the hosts were not going to be cowed.
Second saw his side across the line along with Werner Coetsee as the Knights did the double over the Cobras, who have not been beaten by anyone else this season.
JUSTIN ONTONG stood man alone for the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras on Thursday as they found themselves under severe pressure from the Chevrolet Knights in their crucial Sunfoil Series match at the Diamond Oval.
Ontong scored a magnificent 142 not out to thwart the rampant Knights seamers, who dismissed the Cobras for just 247 as eight visiting batsmen failed to reach double figures.
Openers Reeza Hendricks and Gihahn Cloete then saw off the first eight overs of the reply to take the Knights to stumps on 19 without loss and make it the home side’s day.
The Cobras’ total was all the more disappointing for the fact that they had won the toss and elected to bat.
They found themselves struggling on 10 for three in the ninth over as Quinton Friend continued his excellent form, dismissing both Cobras openers in his first spell.
Ontong and Yaseen Vallie revived the innings with a 116-run partnership that gave the visitors a sense of parity, but Vallie’s dismissal for 50 sparked another collapse as Dane Vilas and Justin Kemp contributed just six runs each.
Robin Peterson’s 18 from 75 balls gave Ontong time to score some quick runs at the other end, but after he had fallen to stand-in captain Werner Coetsee (3 for 45), Friend returned to snaffle two more quick wickets and finish with figures of 4 for 25.
When the Cobras were bowled out, Ontong had contributed 57 per cent of their runs and just two other batsmen had scored more than the 12 extras.
Hendricks will resume on 13 not out on Friday morning, while Cloete is unbeaten on five.
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