NASHUA Mobile Cape Cobras captain Justin Ontong is looking to avenge the Cobras’ first-round defeat against the bizhub Highveld Lions when the two met in the Momentum One-
Day Cup’s second round at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium tomorrow.
“We want to even the score,” said Ontong, talking about the first-round Sahara Park Newlands defeat fresh after the Cobras’ useful last-over victory over The Unlimited Titans in Paarl at the weekend.
Ontong found his mojo on Sunday, scoring an unbeaten 97 (66 balls) in the win against the Titans, a victory that catapulted the Cobras to a useful third position on the log, two points off the Chevrolet Warriors and a further point adrift of the table-topping Sunfoil Dolphins.
With only four matches to go in the league phase of the competition – and a big game against the Dolphins at Kingsmead looming on November 8 – Ontong is refusing to look too far ahead, preferring the sensible option of taking it a game at a time. “As long as the weather stays away,” he said, “the Highveld normally proves to be a good place for batting. We’ve had a couple of tight matches this season so we’ll be hoping just to carry on with the momentum.”
Ontong acknowledged that with the tournament schedule so compact, a losing streak can be difficult to overcome but this, thankfully, isn’t something he and the Cobras are having to deal with as they attempt to consolidate a possible play-off place. Rather, that’s the problem confronted by Stephen Cook at the moment, as last season’s 50-over form has evaporated for the Lions like a puddle of overnight rainwater on a hot summer day.
The Lions flew back from Durban on Monday morning, scaldingly aware of the fact that their race in the competition is almost run. They’re in fifth spot (on a meagre six points) on the log, having lost four times in six, and one of the top three places looks increasingly unlikely. This said, statistically they are still in with a shout – although the possibility remains remote. “I’ve told the guys that it’s pretty much in their hands, we’ve got ourselves into this situation so we can get ourselves out. Realistically we need four wins out of four. This time next week we could be in a very different position,” said Cook.
A glimmer of light in the darkness is provided by the fact that the Lions have already prospered against the Cobras this season, so there’s no better time or place to get their season back on track than in their backyard and against a traditional foe. Eddie Leie’s two for thirty against the Dolphins was more than useful and, according to Cook, Alviro Peterson and Thami Tsolekile, both back from the UAE, are available. All is not lost – just yet – but the Lions know only too well that the walls are closing in.