Cobras make winning start to title defence
The Cape Cobras made a successful start in their defence of the MTN Domestic Championship (previously the Standard Bank Cup), with two wins in their first two matches of South Africa's premier domestic one-day competition.
The Cobras beat the Warriors at Newlands, Cape Town on Friday. Batting first, the captain Justin Kemp made 68 to boost the Cobras to 221 before a four-wicket haul from Charl Langeveldt, ably supported by 3 for 51 from Tyron Henderson, sent the Warriors crashing to a 90-run defeat. Andrew Puttick, the Cobras' wicketkeeper, had a field day behind the stumps, pouching five catches.
In Bloemfontein two days later, the Cobras picked up their second victory against the Eagles, in a match reduced from 45-overs a side to 20. Langeveldt was again among the wickets as the Eagles were restricted to 125 for 5. The chase was anchored by Puttick, who opened the batting and finished unbeaten on 64 as his side completed a seven-wicket win.
In the opening game of the tournament on Wednesday in Bloemfontein, the Eagles, fresh from claiming the SuperSport Series, triumphed over the Warriors. Dillon du Preez, the leading wicket-taker in the SuperSport Series, grabbed four wickets while his new-ball partner Victor Mpitsang chipped in with three. Left-hander Arno Jacobs made an even 50 as the Warriors were rolled over for 148, a score that was hunted down by the Eagles with five wickets and 11 overs to spare.
The Titans sailed to a six-wicket win over the Dolphins in Durban on Friday. A disciplined bowling performance from the Titans restricted the Dolphins to 164. Ahmed Amla scored an unbeaten 60 off 98 balls, while Paul Harris was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 25 from his nine overs. Titans' keeper-batsman Heino Kuhn top scored with 51, and useful contributions from Gulam Bodi (34) and Francois du Plessis (44) sealed the win.
The Dolphins bounced back from that loss with a win against the Lions on Sunday in Durban. The Dolphins opted to field and did well to bowl out the Lions for 166 in 41.4 overs. The Dolphins didn't cruise during the chase, but eventually scampered home with three wickets in hand, having been 69 for 4 and subsequently 138 for 6.
The Lions' campaign had got off to a winning start on Friday in Johannesburg. A high-scoring encounter against the Eagles was won with only an over remaining. Morne Van Wyk's 128, and useful 40s from Boeta Dippenaar and Dean Elgar guided the Eagles to a challenging 271 for 6 off 45 overs. However, a wonderfully-paced run-a-ball chase, powered by the Lions' top three, left the Eagles on the losing side.
Stephen Cook and Alviro Petersen set the platform with a 128-run opening stand. Both openers were run out - Petersen for 95 - but Neil McKenzie all but stayed till the winning runs were hit. McKenzie, who made it to the Test team for Bangladesh ahead of Herschelle Gibbs, made a 70-ball 87, before falling on the brink of victory in the 44th over. Roger Telemachus struck twice in the penultimate over, but Justin Ontong's six off the last ball won it with an over to spare.
Zimbabwe, featuring in this year's competition, failed in their match against the Warriors in Bulawayo on Sunday. Tatenda Taibu made 52 as the hosts posted 213 for 9, which was not to be enough as the Warriors chased it down to earn their first points in the tournament from their third game. Juan Theron took four wickets while Jacobs top-scored with 68 as the Warriors coasted to a six-wicket win.