South African Domestic Season / News

Cobras v Eagles, Pro20 Series final, Cape Town.

Gibbs onslaught steers Cobras to title

Martin Williamson

February 21, 2009

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Cobras 147 for 5 (Gibbs 87*) beat Eagles 125 for 8 (Philander 3-17, Langeveldt 3-20) by 22 runs
Scorecard

Herschelle Gibbs' brutal 62-ball 87 steered the Cobras to a 22-run win over the Eagles in the final of the Pro20 Series at Cape Town.

Gibbs' innings came after the Cobras, who had won the toss, made a low-key start to their innings. They lost Graeme Smith in the first over and next got on top of some decent bowling, so by the end of the ninth they had reached only 42 for 2.

The introduction of Thandi Tshabalala into the attack turned the innings. Gibbs glanced his second ball for four and slammed his third for six over long-on to raise the fifty and bring the crowd to life. Justin Ontong slog-swept Ryan Bailey for a four and a six but holed out to long-on in the next over. However, there was no stopping Gibbs.

Boeta Dippenaar chopped and changed his bowlers, but while they kept the other batsmen in check, Gibbs farmed the bulk of the strike, scoring the majority of his runs between long-on and midwicket, milking the fine-leg area to good effect as well. He rode his luck well, a few inside edges going his way, but it was nevertheless a fine innings.

The Eagles chase never got out of second gear, and the Cobras seamers kept a tight check on the first half of the innings. After nine over the Eagles were 55 for 2, slightly ahead of the Cobras at the same stage, but the difference was none of their batsmen was able to play a major innings.

Dippenaar holed out to long-on, Bailey was brilliantly caught one-handed by JP Duminy on the square-leg boundary and then Dean Elgar, who had begun to look dangerous, tamely chipped a slower ball to mid-on. At 88 for 5 with an asking rate into double figures, the game was slipping away.

The next two overs from Claude Henderson and Charl Langeveldt produced only ten runs and the home crowd began to celebrate. Langeveldt took two in two in his final over to finish with 3 for 20, and with 27 needed off the last over, Vernon Philander, who took a wicket in each of his three overs, kept his head and bowled a tight line and length.

Langeveldt finished with 16 wickets in this season's competition and his mix of change of pace, reverse-swinging yorkers and the judicious use of the bouncer have made him the complete package. He won the Master Blaster bowling award, while Gibbs took the one for batting.

The Cobras and the Eagles will now represent South Africa in the Champions League to be played in India later this year.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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