THE Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras took the outright lead in the MiWay T20 Challenge when they beat the New Age Impi by 40 runs in their third league match at Boland Park on Wednesday evening.
However, the actual result was overshadowed by the maiden century for the losers by Khayelihle Zondo (100 not out off 63 balls with 9 fours and 2 sixes). If anything proves that the seventh franchise is going to be a worthwhile exercise regardless of their results, this does precisely that.
It is unusual for a member of the losing side to win the MiWay Master Blaster award. Not only did he do that but he also denied the Cobras a bonus point which will certainly gain him the gratitude of the other leading contenders. The century follows his half-century in the previous match against the Dolphins.
The Cobras have 11 points compared to the 9 of the bizhub Highveld Lions and the 8 of the Sunfoil Dolphins who were also victorious in their respective matches against the Chevrolet Warriors at Axxess St. George’s and against the Chevrolet Knights at Chevrolet Park. The latter two sides, however, both have a game in hand.
It was an evening that produced much excellent cricket in all three matches that reflects extremely well on the overall standard of the domestic game.
The Cobras produced fireworks aplenty after being sent into bat to compile the highest total of the season so far of 211/4. Andrew Puttick and Stiaan van Zyl gave them another excellent start with 35 runs in 4 overs. Van Zyl (55 off 31 balls, 2 fours and 3 sixes) and Dane Vilas (57 off 30 balls, 7 fours and a six) then added 67 for the second wicket in 6 overs and then there was a superb finishing burst by Mark Boucher and Vernon Philander (45 off 18 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes) who added an unbroken 63 in 5 overs for the fifth wicket.
The target was always going to be a difficult one for the Impi, especially after their two big batting guns, Ryan ten Doeschate and Paul Collingwood, were dismissed in the space of 5 balls by the spinning duo of Dane Piedt and Alistair Gray.
Another career-best came from Cody Chetty of the Dolphins who set up his side’s eight-run victory over the Knights with his innings of 82 off 49 balls (6 fours and 4 sixes). David Miller also showed a welcome return to form (40 off 25 balls, 3 fours and a six) and capped it with an excellent display in the outfield.
Ryan Bailey and Rilee Rossouw both scored quick-fire half-centuries for the Knights while Imran Tahir had a good warm-up ahead of the Test series in New Zealand with figures of 2/29 in 4 overs at a critical stage of the Knights’ runs chase.
The Lions were always in charge of their match against the Warriors, winning by a convincing eight wickets with seven balls to spare.
The Warriors, who have now lost three home matches in a row, were unable to build on a second-wicket partnership of 66 between Jon-Jon Smuts and Ashwell Prince to finish on 134/9.
The Lions batted far more aggressively in reply with the platform being laid by Jonathan Vandiar (56 off 53 balls). He and Neil McKenzie saw their side home with an unbroken stand of 62 for the third wicket off 56 balls.
Points: Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras 11 points (3 matches), bizhub Highveld Lions 9 points (2), Sunfoil Dolphins 8 (2), Chevrolet Knights 7 (3), Nashua Titans 4 (2), Chevrolet Warriors 0 (3), New Age Impi 0 (3).