Cobras, Dolphins win after tiny chases
Cape Cobras registered a thumping nine-wicket win over Titans in Benoni, to take their place at the top of the Sunfoil Series points table after nine matches. After their attack had combined to bowl out Titans for under 200 for the second time in three days, they were left chasing a mere 17 runs for victory. Opener Alistair Gray had to retire hurt after facing just one ball, but that had no impact on Cobras cruising to victory.
Cobras bowlers' efforts were built upon by Stiaan van Zyl, who struck a century from No. 3 as in their first innings. Justin Kemp, batting at No. 8, consolidated their position in the game with 73. That lifted Cobras to 373, with a first-innings lead of 179. By the time Titans drew even in the second innings, they had already lost seven wickets with Johann Louw and Beuran Hendricks - the most effective bowlers in the first innings, too - causing most of the damage. From then on, it was just a matter of time before Cobras closed out the game.
In a game that followed a similar path, Dolphins beat Warriors by nine wickets in Durban. After choosing to bowl, Dolphins skittled out Warriors for 92 - that total took some rearguard effort in fact, as Warriors were at one stage 36 for 6. Left-arm pacer Mthokozisi Shezi caused most of Warriors' trouble, taking a five-for. He was well supported by his partner with the new ball, Kyle Abbott, who took 3 for 19 in the innings.
A series of cameos from the Dolphins batsmen then put them firmly on top, as they got to 245 with Khayelihle Zondo top scoring with 51. In Warriors' second innings, Abbott came good once again, knocking over four top-order wickets as they were dismissed for 198. That left Dolphins with 46 to chase, and they did so in 12 overs at close to four an over.
Lions were at No. 2 on the points table, after drawing their ninth-round game with Knights in Kimberley. Knights chose to bat, and based on a collective effort got to 348. While none of the line-up got to a hundred, the innings was built around Rilee Rossouw, who top scored with 80, and Werner Coetsee, who made 78 from No. 7. They then had Lions in a spot of bother, bowling them out for 219.
However, the 129-run first-innings lead did not make too much of a difference, as Lions did not let any of the Knights batsmen score quickly enough for them to force a result, especially since rain came into the equation; Lions played out 42 overs in their second innings, for 108 for 2, as the match petered out into a draw.