The bizhub Highveld Lions consolidated their position at the top of the Ram
Slam T20 Challenge log with a comfortable five wicket win over the Nashua
Mobile Cape Cobras at Sahara Park Newlands on Friday.
The Lions got home with ten balls to spare as they were never stretched in
chasing down a target of just 118 after strangling the Cobras. Captain
Alviro Petersen put the home team in to bat after winning the toss, and the
Cobras innings seldom got out of second gear. Chris Morris led the attack
with two early wickets, blows from which the Cobras never really recovered, and
Petersen quashed any hope of a comeback for the home team with some quality
Boundaries were the deciding factor. The Cobras managed just nine on
an outfield that had been affected by rain during the day, but the Lions
crashed seventeen - four of them over the ropes - as the Cobras bowlers were
never allowed to settle.
Quinton de Kock was an early casualty in the run chase, playing on to the
impressive Beuren Hendricks, but Petersen showed intent as he looked to hit the
bowlers off their line from the start. Gulam Bodi did not last much
longer than his opening partner, feathering a catch to the keeper as he
attempted an upper cut, and Neil McKenzie fell trying to steer Azhar Mahmood to
At 43 for three in the eighth over, there was some hope of the Cobras
striking back. Sohail Tanvir came in early to boost the run rate, and
struck some telling blows. The fielding wilted under the pressure.
Three catches went astray in successive overs as first Sohail Tanvir edged
Vernon Philander between slip and keeper, and then both he and Petersen were
put down at third man to catches that should have been taken. That was
really the difference, as Richard Levi had earlier gone for a duck to a
brilliant catch by Imran Tahir at third man.
Sohail Tanvir did eventually depart for 28, made off 24 balls with three
sixes and a four, and Petersen drove Hendricks into the hands of Philander at
mid on two balls later. That left the Lions on 92 for five, needing
another 26 off 31 balls, and the Cobras were unable to maintain any sort of
pressure with the odd boundary keeping the scoreboard ticking.
The end came in a manner which summarised a dismal performance for the
Cobras as a Charl Langeveldt half volley was put away through the covers, and
called a no-ball to boot.
The Cobras relied on their seamers. Hendricks, who was named Deliverer
of the Day despite being on the losing side, returned career best figures of
three for 17 as he continues to develop into a bowler to reckon with.
Azhar Mahmood was also effective. Although he was punished in his final
over, his first spell of three overs produced just five runs. However
well this pair bowled, their work was undone by an indifferent night out for
Langeveldt, who went for 36 without completing his fourth over.
Not that they had much to bowl at. None of the batsman was able to
dominate a hard-working Lions attack, who gave little away. Dane Vilas
top-scored for the Cobras with thirty, and contributions of 25 by Owais Shah
and a struggling unbeaten 21 from Justin Ontong simply could not post a winning
total. Morris and sohail Tanvir each claimed two wickets while Aaron
Phangiso gave away just seventeen in his spell.
The Ram Slammer was Petersen, whose 46 off 36 with seven fours was the
highest score of a disappointing evening for the good home crowd.
The Lions now consolidate their place at the top of the log, stretching
their lead to five points even as the Chevrolet Warriors moved into second
place. The Cobras stay in fifth place, still two points behind the
Titans. These two teams meet on Tuesday in Paarl in what will surely be
the 'last chance saloon' showdown of the season.