Alan Dawson managed to squeeze two runs off the last ball to follow top-class hitting by Rory Kleinveldt and Vernon Philander and guide the Cape Cobras to a thrilling two-wicket victory over the Warriors in their Pro20 semi-final at Newlands.
Kleinveldt and Philander had raced the Cobras back into contention after they had staggered to 99 for six after 17 overs in search of 140 for victory. The duo scored freely in the 18th and 19th overs as 36 runs were scored off spinners Arno Jacobs and Johan Botha, before fast bowler Mario Olivier threatened to turn the tables once again with a brilliant final over.
Olivier was defending a meagre five runs, but two fine yorkers removed Philander and Con de Lange with successive balls and the Cobras were left needing two runs off the last delivery. Olivier bowled a decent enough low full toss, but veteran Dawson managed to get it away to wide long-on and he and Kleinveldt raced through for the two runs required as Corbyn Dolley fumbled the pick-up.
Philander (41 off 30 balls) and Kleinveldt (30 not out off 15 balls) each belted three sixes as they resurrected an innings which seemed terminally damaged by Zander de Bruyn's four-wicket haul after a fine start by Adam Bacher and JP Duminy. De Bruyn's top-class spell saw him finish with four for 18 as three wickets fell in his second over, including the run out of Benji Hector, who did not face a ball.
The Warriors had to call on all the experience and skill of HD Ackerman to get to 139 for five after being sent in to bat. De Bruyn scored 35, but it was a sluggish innings lacking innovation or aggression, much like the rest of the Warriors batsmen, Ackerman excepted.
Ackerman was practically the only batsman willing to come down the pitch and he charged to a 35-ball fifty with four fours and two sixes, eventually scoring 58 before being bowled by a superb Philander yorker in the final over, after facing 40 balls out in the middle. The Warriors batsmen always had a mountain to climb after Dawson's brilliant new-ball spell that saw him finish with two for 15 in four overs, and the rest of the Cobras seamers also kept to a marvellous line and length, full and on or about off stump.
Ken Borland works for the MWP agency in South Africa