Cobras make strides in SuperSport Series
Three wins on the trot have seen the Cape Cobras become serious contenders as they strive to capture the SuperSport Series title for the first time as a franchise.
Although there’s sure to be a fascinating finish to the competition when it draws to a conclusion in March, the Cobras, with three rounds remaining, have claimed the inside track.
Their superb win over defending champions Titans in Paarl this weekend, inside three days, has given them a handy 10-point lead over the second-placed Warriors, who registered their third win of the season after some tactical declaration decisions in Durban.
Two of the Cobras’ three victories have come in Paarl, where conditions aren’t always that easy for fluent cricket, but the Cape side have clearly learnt how to adapt to the situation.
The surge in form of players like Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson and Justin Kemp in a well-balanced outfit has been a big boost for coach Shukri Conrad’s side and their confidence will be high for the remainder of the competition.
The last time the SuperSport Series trophy went to the Cape was in 2000-01 when Western Province won the title.
The Titans, meanwhile, suffered a second successive slip and they will need a concerted effort to get back in the running.
The Warriors will be happy with the performance of fast bowler Garnett Kruger in his first match for the franchise.
He took five wickets as the Dolphins never came close to achieving the 275 they needed to win, being bowled out for 186 shortly after lunch on Sunday.
The declaration made by the Dolphins in the first innings (70/0) meant the Warriors weren’t able to earn any bowling points, likewise the home side with batting points, but it was probably a good move after rain and bad light had caused several disruptions.
In Johannesburg, Stephen Cook (Highveld Lions) and Dean Elgar (Diamond Eagles) continued to pile on the runs for their franchises, but had little impact on the final outcome as the match ended in a quiet draw.
Cook hit 51 and 32 to take his SuperSport Series aggregate for the season by 765, the highest in the competition, boosted by his SA first-class record of 390 against the Warriors, while Elgar failed narrowly to notch his fifth century of the season when he was dismissed for 98 in the Diamond Eagles’ first innings.
Elgar took his tally for the season to 740 runs, while Johann Louw (Dolphins, 30 wickets) and Philander (28) remain the leading wicket-takers.—Sapa.