The Cape Cobras cruised to a third successive victory in the MTN Domestic Championship at Newlands on Wednesday, beating the Lions by six wickets with four overs to spare.
The Lions won the toss and elected to bat first. Stephen Cook and stand-in captain Alviro Petersen got them off to a flying start with a partnership of 61 off 79 balls. Tyron Henderson, despite eventually being the most expensive of the bowlers, made the breakthrough when he had Cook well caught by wicket-keeper Andrew Puttick.
Petersen found another willing partner in Blake Snijman as they put on another good partnership. Snijman dominated, scoring 51 of the 84-run stand off 88 balls. He reached his 50 with a straight-driven six off Con de Lange but was out two balls later as he top-edged a sweep. New batsman Vaughn van Jaarsveld pulled a full toss from Paul Adams to deep mid wicket, where De Lange held an excellent one-handed catch.
Adams had given away ten runs in his opening over, but it was the spinners who put the brakes on the visitors. They bowled their spells unchanged in tandem, and between them conceded just three boundaries in their eighteen overs.
Petersen got badly bogged down as he approached his fourth limited-overs century. He was run out shortly after reaching the landmark, departing in the final over for 103 made off 131 balls (eight fours, one six).
Werner Coetsee scored an unbeaten 43 off 39 balls, and although the Lions must have been satisfied with a competitive score of 234 on a pitch where it is always difficult to bat under lights, they must have felt that they had not made full use of their chance to bat first.
However, they got off to the best of starts. Herschelle Gibbs, back in his franchise colours, drove the first ball he faced imperiously through the covers but was out two balls later. Tyrone Henderson, promoted in the pinch-hitting role, played horribly across the line to his first ball and was bowled neck and crop, but the assured Henry Davids saw off the hat-trick ball.
Davids was content to play second fiddle as Puttick scored a magnificent half-century, uncharacteristically scoring at better than a run a ball before being caught down the leg side off the expensive Craig Alexander for 57 (54 balls, nine fours).
He had added 82 with Davids off 77 balls, and the Boland top-order batsman went on to share in partnerships of 95 for the fourth wicket with Justin Kemp (124 balls) and 54 with Stiaan van Zyl (36 balls) as the Cobras surged to victory.
There was drama early in Kemp’s innings. With his score on 13, he took a quick single to Petersen at mid-on. There was no response from Davids, and the captain found himself almost at the bowler’s crease before turning back. Petersen’s throw was straight down the pitch, and Kemp raised an arm to prevent the ball from hitting his head. Kemp only just made his ground, and spent a few anxious moments while umpires Ian Howell and Earl Hendrikse considered an appeal for obstructing the field.
The next scare came when a light drizzle set in soon after the 20th over had been bowled. With the Cobras just slipping behind the Duckworth-Lewis par score, Kemp hit some boundaries to put the home team back on track. He was eventually caught on the cover boundary after equalling Puttick’s score of 57 (71 balls, five fours, two sixes).
There were no further scares as Davids and Van Zyl knocked off the remaining runs. The match was hardly over when a thunderstorm broke over the ground.
Davids was a deserved winner of the man-of-the-match award, his unbeaten innings of 86 (100 balls, 11 fours) steering the Cobras home. This took the Cape team, the defending champions, to a comfortable lead on the log after winning all three of their matches to date. — Sapa