Herschelle Gibbs, who has been going through a lean period in recent weeks, bounced back on Wednesday, making an unbeaten 74 to take the Cape Cobras to a massive seven-wicket victory over the Lions in their MTN Domestic Championship match at the Wanderers.
Gibbs was in sublime form, reaching his 54th limited-overs half-century off 63 balls. His 50 included five fours and two sixes. He shared in a first-wicket partnership of 41 with Andrew Puttick before Puttick was bowled neck and crop by Shane Burger for eight.
Henry Davids made 11 before being given out leg before wicket to Johnson Mafa, and Gibbs and Stiaan van Zyl put on 43 for the third wicket. Burger ended this partnership when Van Zyl was caught by Blake Snijman for 20.
Justin Kemp hit the winning runs off the last ball of the 31st over to give the Cobras a comprehensive victory with 14 overs in hand, earning them a valuable bonus point.
The victory, after four successive defeats, put the Cobras back in contention for a semifinal berth.
Earlier, the Cobras bowlers kept a tight grip on the match as the Lions struggled to a dismal 137 all out off the second last ball of their innings. At one stage, it looked as if they would not reach three figures, or even come close to batting out their 45 overs.
Alviro Petersen put on 33 before he was caught and bowled by Con de Lange, and Cliffie Deacon (30) and Shane Burger (23 not out) shared an eighth-wicket stand of 45 to give the Lions some respectability, but for the most part it was a sorry procession, as batsman after batsman made his way back to the dressing room.
Vernon Philander did most of the damage, taking 3-29 runs, while Charl Langeveldt, Rory Kleinveldt and Con de Lange took two wickets each.
The Lions, with five losses from eight matches, now have an uphill task to secure a berth in the semifinals. They face the Eagles — whom they beat in their home encounter earlier this month — in Bloemfontein on Friday, and then travel to Harare to play Zimbabwe.
The Cobras take on the Warriors in East London on Friday.
In another match played on Wednesday, Zimbabwe beat the Dolphins. — Sapa