CAPE TOWN. – Soft dismissals and losing wickets in clusters caused the downfall of the Cape Cobras against The Unlimited Titans in their Sunfoil Series match at Willowmoore Park in Benoni, said Dane Vilas, the Cape Cobras-wicketkeeper.

The Titans romped to a 10-wicket win after dismissing the visitors for 107 in their first innings and enforcing the follow-on. The Cobras managed 320 in their follow-on thanks to a composed 92 by Andrew Puttick and a splendid unbeaten 69 by Dane Vilas.

The hosts needed 6.4 overs to score the 66 needed for victory.

Vilas said the Cape Cobras managed a few 30’s and 40’s in the first innings, and that is not good enough.

Establishing big top-order partnerships are pivotal if you want to win the game.

His rear-guard action in the second innings produced an unbeaten 69 off 67 balls as he and Lizaad Williams got stuck in and added 77 for the tenth wicket to force the Titans to bat a second time.

But the Cobras were poor in their first innings, as they collapsed from 62 for two to 107 all out against the left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who finished with a match-haul of 12 for 85.

Vilas said the Cobras seam bowlers performed well in the first innings, but they lacked a frontline-spinner to do a holding job. Perhaps, with the perfect 20/20 vision of hindsight, it might have been an option to have picked Tshepo Moreki as fourth seam bowler.

Paul Adams, the Cape Cobras coach, said SA Engelbrecht is not allowed to bowl right now as he was reported by a Cricket South Africa umpire for a suspect action.

The left-arm spinner Robin Peterson stayed at home for family reasons, while George Linde’s rehabilitation on his injured finger has not been completed.

“We let ourselves down with the bat. We did not apply ourselves, and we were blasted away in one session. It was a bit disappointing.

“In the second innings, we showed a lot more application and got back to basics, by batting for a long period of time,” Adams said.

Justin Ontong, senior batsman of the Cape Cobras, said his contribution of 47 was not good enough in the second innings. It should have been 147.

The top-order must take responsibility and bat for long period while hammering big tons.

“I thought the two quick wickets we lost before lunch on Tuesday were the turning point. Andrew Puttick was caught behind (off Tabraiz Shamsi) but it was not out. He was really unlucky, as he did not touch the ball.”

Vilas said the Cape Cobras are not out of the Sunfoil Series Cup race, but they need to fill some gaps. There is depth in the squad and senior players like Richard Levi and Wayne Parnell can still return to strengthen the team.

“The senior players must step up. We have to display a lot of solidarity and return to basics,” Adams said.

Vilas said although he felt deeply hurt by being dropped from the SA team, he understands the current dynamics. He wants to perform for the Cape Cobras, score big hundreds and create pressure on the national selection committee by sheer weight of numbers and excellent wicket-keeping.

TABRAIZ SHAMSI finished with 12 wickets in the match as The Unlimited Titans wrapped up a 10-wicket victory over the Cape Cobras inside three days at Sahara Willowmoore Park.

Shamsi recorded figures of 7 for 63 in the second innings and 12 for 85 in the match, as the Cobras were bowled out for 320 as they followed on.

That set the Titans a target of 66 to win, which they knocked off in just 6.4 overs to complete the job before the tea break, with Heino Kuhn scoring 32 not out from 18 balls and Grant Mokoena making 27 not out.

The Cobras began the third day on 122 for two, still trailing by 133, and gave themselves a chance of putting up a reasonable lead by moving their score along to 227 whilst only losing Justin Ontong for 47.

But their growing confidence was shattered in the lead-up to lunch when a 64-run stand between Keegan Petersen (45) and Andrew Puttick was broken by Junior Dala (3 for 74), and in the next over Puttick was caught behind off Shamsi to depart for 92.

Shamsi went on to dismiss Lesiba Ngoepe on the stroke of lunch, then put himself on a hat trick when he trapped Rory Kleinveldt lbw with the first ball after the break.

When Siya Simetu and then Dane Paterson also fell to the left-arm spinner, the Cobras were nine wickets down and still trailing by 12 runs.

Yet Dane Vilas took the attack to the Titans and Lizaad Williams clungo, as the pair put on 77 for the last wicket to avoid what would have been a second straight innings defeat.

Vilas was unbeaten on 69 at a run a ball when Shamsi finally ended their fun by inducing an edge from Williams.

With Kuhn and Mokoena sealing the win, the Titans have taken maximum points from their opening two games at home, while the Cobras will go into the new year hoping that it brings a turnaround in their fortunes.

 

THE Cape Cobras’ Sunfoil Series woes deepened on Monday as Tabraiz Shamsi’s five-wicket haul saw them spun out for 107 and made to follow on by The Unlimited Titans at Sahara Willowmoore Park.

 

After wrapping up the Titans innings for 362 in the morning, the Cobras were bowled out inside 35 overs with Shamsi taking 5 for 22 and Chris Morris contributing 3 for 13, before reaching stumps on 122 for two in their second innings.

 

Shamsi worked his way into the Titans side by bowling Easterns to victory over Free State with figures of 9 for 87 last week, and he replicated that form for his franchise on the second day.

 

The Cobras could have felt relatively pleased at grabbing the last three Titans wickets for the addition of just 18 runs at the start of the day thanks to Lizaad Williams (4 for 47) and Dane Paterson (3 for 88), with the former ending Morris’ entertaining knock on 86.

 

But Simon Khomari and Omphile Ramela fell to the new ball, before the Cobras crashed to 64 for five as they lost a further three wickets for two runs in 12 balls before lunch.

 

There was another brutal collapse just five overs into the second session as Shamsi’s double-strike saw the visitors lose 3 for 10 in 10 deliveries, and Shamsi went on to grab the final two wickets soon after to complete his 14th five-wicket bag in first-class cricket.

 

The Cobras made a much brighter start to their second dig with Khomari and Andrew Puttick putting on 71 for the first wicket.

 

And, although Khomari and Ramela fell in the space of three overs, Puttick reached the close of play on 57 and Justin Ontong was not out on 26, giving the Cobras some hope of overhauling the 133-run deficit on day three.

Michael Owen Smith

Domestic and international teams could benefit from a more attacking mind-set at the top of the order in the manner and style which have contributed to teams whose explosive starts have been produced by players such as David Warner and Chris Gayle, said Omar Henry, a former chairman of the national selection committee.

Henry, probed about the role of the belligerent Richard Levi at the Cape Cobras and whether he will be inserted only at the top of the order in limited-overs games, said Levi will also be considered for the Sunfoil Series.

“He is carrying an ankle injury right now. We know that Northamptonshire has used him as middle-order batsman.

“The ultimate question is when you will use him at the top of the order, but teams have benefited when utilizing attacking batsmen at the top of the order.

“Look at what a difference Chris Gayle has made.

“And in 2014, Australia beat us partially thanks to the damage inflicted by David Warner at the top of the order.

“Years ago, Eddie Barlow started a new dispensation at the Free State by instilling an attacking mind-set into the young team led by Hansie Cronjé. They abandoned the style of avoiding a loss first and then pressing for a win, and that new adventurous style carried them to the four-day title.

“At the Cobras we have seen what Richard can do. I remember how we played in Bloemfontein and Paul Adams phoned me and told me it was a green top, but we selected him nevertheless and he managed a century,” Henry said.

Internationally, attacking openers have largely contributed to their team’s test-wins through their explosive approach against the new ball. Australia has won 25 games and lost 13 in which Warner opened the innings, while Matthew Hayden contributed to 71 wins and suffered only 18 test losses when he was at the helm, averaging 50.73 with his flashing blade.

Graeme Smith has won 60 tests and lost 30 in which he opened the batting with his aggressive approach, while Herschelle Gibbs masterminded 44 wins with his debonair approach.

Virender Sehwag ignited many Indian grounds with his flashy batting and might have suffered 28 losses, but also set up 42 wins. The recently retired Indian opener averaged 49.34.

 

QUINTON DE KOCK sent a reminder of his long-form credentials to the Proteas selectors as his 117 put The Unlimited Titans in the ascendancy after the first day of their Sunfoil Series clash with the Cape Cobras at Sahara Willowmoore Park.

 

Batting at No. 6, De Kock rescued the Titans from 97 for four and then 171 for six with his 133-ball knock, adding 153 for the seventh wicket with Chris Morris at almost a run a ball to allow the hosts to close on 344 for seven.

 

That partnership changed the complexion of a day that had the potential to turn around the fortunes of an underperforming Cobras side, who brushed off the effects of losing the toss by striking three times early on.

 

First Rory Kleinveldt was rewarded for a long opening spell with the wicket of Heino Kuhn (30), before Lizaad Williams and Dane Paterson nabbed Grant Mokoena and Henry Davids cheaply.

 

Theunis de Bruyn and Farhaan Behardien dragged things back for the Titans with contrasting innings in a 54-run stand, with De Bruyn (32) providing the solidity and Behardien giving the forward impetus with a run-a-ball 35.

 

However, in the second over after lunch Williams had Behardien caught, and soon after Paterson trapped De Bruyn lbw. De Kock and David Wiese added 45 for the sixth wicket in good time, but when Williams bowled Wiese for 21, the Cobras would have felt they were into the tail.

 

Morris proved that they weren’t, as he batted calmly through to tea and then took the attack to the visitors.

 

De Kock went to his hundred from 122 balls with a six off Siya Simetu, and although he fell to part-timer Simon Khomari shortly before the second new ball arrived, Morris reached stumps on 73 not out from just 96 deliveries when bad light stopped play after 83.1 overs.

CAPE TOWN. – Get back to basics. Establish a firm foundation and then transfer pressure to the opposition through excellent partnerships with bat and ball, has been the mantra that has made the Cape Cobras a dominant unit the past four seasons. Paul Adams, the coach, has implored his troops to use that simple yet profound strategy in the Sunfoil Series match against The Unlimited Titans at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.

The match starts on Sunday 27th December.

“We need to stay calm and composed. About six or seven wins are needed in a campaign to win the Sunfoil Series and we can do it,” Adams explained.

“We need to get back to basics. The team we have now, is a more settled squad (than the team that flattered to deceive against the VKB Knights). This squad will probably carry us through the campaign,” the coach remarked.

Adams said in the defeat against the VKB Knights the team got off to a frantic start, and lost regular wickets. Their first-innings deficit had them under enormous pressure for the rest of the game.

The Cape Cobras are renowned for their attacking and explosive brand of cricket, but they need to do the basics right by establishing a solid foundation and thereafter transfer pressure to the opposition.

The visiting attack will require accuracy and discipline against a top-heavy Titans team, who boasts the presence of the in-form Heino Kuhn, Henry Davids, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock and Farhaan Behardien in their top-five, which is the envy of many other teams.

The Cobras do have superb fire-power in Andrew Puttick, Omphile Ramela, Dane Vilas, Justin Ontong and Keegan Petersen.

They also have a bowling attack which would make a few countries proud, as Rory Kleinveldt, Beuran Hendricks, Robin Peterson and Dane Paterson are set to challenge the Titans batting order on a wicket that could be two-paced and inconsistent at times.

The teams are:

Cape Cobras: Omphile Ramela (capt), Simon Khomari, Andrew Puttick, Dane Vilas, Keegan Petersen, Justin Ontong, Lesiba Ngoepe, Lizaad Williams, Robin Peterson, Tshepo Moreki, Beuran Hendricks, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson.

The Unlimited Titans: Henry Davids (capt), Heino Kuhn, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Farhaan Behardien, Grant Mokoena, Mangaliso Mosehle, David Wiese, Chris Morris, Rowan Richards, Ethy Mbhalati, Marchant de Lange, Junior Dala.

CAPE TOWN. –  Rory Kleinveldt is determined not to stroll off into the sunset or fade into oblivion as an experienced 32-year old fast bowler. He wants to make a stand and remind all and sundry of the talent which brought him 57 championship-wickets for Northamptonshire in 2015.

Kleinveldt, senior bowler of the Cape Cobras, will be one of the spearheads when the Cape-champions meet The Unlimited Titans in Benoni from Sunday 27th December in a Sunfoil Series-match.

“I have recovered from the flu which kept me in bed for seven days. Today I bowled six overs in the nets and it felt good,” he said.

Kleinveldt added that assessing the right length and the conditions are important ingredients for producing the goods in Benoni. The wicket can be a bit up and down as the ball can skid through at different heights.

When he is operating at the height of his powers, Kleinveldt can swing it both ways and also move it both ways off the seam. “The wicket in Benoni is a hit-the-wicket kind of pitch and I’m that sort of bowler,” he added.

He acknowledges his bowling performances in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge were “very inconsistent”.

Kleinveldt said the Cape Cobras is a team in a transitional phase and busy rebuilding. But every player must take account of his performance and make sure he executes his skills to perfection.

The Cobras are set to unleash three experienced South African bowlers and one SA A-bowler against the Titans as Kleinveldt, Beuran Hendricks, Robin Peterson and Dane Paterson have been included in the group of thirteen.

Justin Ontong and Dane Vilas return to the squad with the captain, Omphile Ramela.

Ontong is the most experienced player in the batting line-up and it would be pivotal for the Cape Cobras that Ontong, Andrew Puttick and Ramela lead the way with big first-innings contributions to atone for the poor batting performances by the star-studded team against the VKB Knights.

The squad is: Omphile Ramela (capt), Andrew Puttick, Simon Khomari, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Dane Vilas, Lesiba Ngoepe, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams, Beuran Hendricks, Tshepo Moreki.

 

Rory Kleinveldt is determined not to stroll off into the sunset or fade into oblivion as an experienced 32-year old fast bowler. He wants to make a stand and remind all and sundry of the talent which brought him 57 championship-wickets for Northamptonshire in 2015.

Kleinveldt, senior bowler of the Cape Cobras, will be one of the spearheads when the Cape-champions meet The Unlimited Titans in Benoni from Sunday 27th December in a Sunfoil Series-match.

“I have recovered from the flue which kept me in bed for seven days. Today I bowled six overs in the nets and it felt good,” he said.

Kleinveldt added that assessing the right length and the conditions are important ingredients for producing the goods in Benoni. The wicket can be a bit up and down as the ball can skid through at different heights.

When he is operating at the height of his powers, Kleinveldt can swing it both ways and also move it both ways off the seam. “The wicket in Benoni is a hit-the-wicket kind of pitch and I’m that sort of bowler,” he added.

He acknowledges his bowling performances in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge were “very inconsistent”.

Kleinveldt said the Cape Cobras is a team in a transitional phase and busy rebuilding. But every player must take account of his performance and make sure he executes his skills to perfection.

The Cobras are set to unleash three experienced South African bowlers and one SA A-bowler against the Titans as Kleinveldt, Beuran Hendricks, Robin Peterson and Dane Paterson have been included in the group of thirteen.

Justin Ontong and Dane Vilas return to the squad with the captain, Omphile Ramela.

Ontong is the most experienced player in the batting line-up and it would be pivotal for the Cape Cobras that Ontong, Andrew Puttick and Ramela lead the way with big first-innings contributions to atone for the poor batting performances by the star-studded team against the VKB Knights.

The squad is: Omphile Ramela (capt), Andrew Puttick, Simon Khomari, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Dane Vilas, Lesiba Ngoepe, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams, Beuran Hendricks, Tshepo Moreki.

 

CAPE TOWN. – Dale Steyn, one of South Africa’s finest-ever bowlers and senior Cape Cobras stalwart, waltzed through his fitness test without a frown on his face, but Wayne Parnell’s comeback-trail and his quest for higher honours came to a halt due to a Cobras stalwart, foot injury, last week.

According to Shane Jabaar, the Cape Cobras physiotherapist, Steyn had little trouble in passing his fitness test at PPC Newlands, but Parnell had to be pulled out of the South Africa A-match against England at Pietermaritzburg due to a hind foot injury.

Parnell was in splendid form in the 2015/2016-season, taking 10 wickets in four Momentum One Day Cup matches, batting superbly at the top of the order in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge clashes and also nipping out 4-20 in a match against the Dolphins at SuperSport Park against a batting line-up that included Kevin Pietersen and David Miller.

He will be out of action for at least 10 days, according to Jabaar. He suffered complications after the Ram Slam T20 Challenge semi-final knockout-match against the Sunfoil Dolphins. He was ruled out of the South Africa A match and replaced by his Cape colleague Dane Paterson.

Steyn is South Africa’s most successful bowler ever at PPC Newlands, where the second test will take place from 2nd January. He has also nabbed out 38 batsmen in seven tests at Kingsmead in Durban where South Africa and England will start the test series on Boxing Day.

According to Jabaar, Steyn looked in good spirits while doing his running drills, fielding and bowling in the nets at PPC Newlands, and he is fired up to represent the Proteas again.

Dry conditions at Kingsmead could suit Steyn as his ability to take wickets with reverse swing contributed to his rich haul of 9-147 in the Boxing Day test against India in 2013. South Africa won by 10 wickets.

Steyn has taken 65 wickets in 13 tests at PPC Newlands and was one of the destroyers-in-chief when the Proteas restricted Australia to 49 in 2011 and New Zealand to 45 in the 2012/2013-series at the iconic ground.

CAPE TOWN. – South African cricket fans should not despair or go into national mourning due to the failure of the Cape Cobras trio of JP Duminy, Stiaan van Zyl and Hashim Amla in the Sunfoil Series match at PPC Newlands. They all have super track records and one can expect them to do well in the first test against England, said Andrew Puttick and Werner Coetsee, skippers of the Cape Cobras and the VKB Knights, at PPC Newlands where the visitors romped to an innings and 102-run win against the hosts on Saturday.

Puttick said Duminy looked stylish in both innings and was unlucky to be adjudged trapped leg before wicket when he was getting into his rhythm on 35 in the first innings.

Coetsee echoed the same sentiments.

He said not one of the three South African batsmen were scratchy in the match. Van Zyl scored 21, Amla 23 and Duminy 27 in the second innings.

The pitch had something in it throughout the match and Shadley van Schalkwyk produced a sterling performance by hitting the perfect length and nipping the ball off the seam which found the edges of the Cape Cobras batsmen consistently. Duanne Olivier was almost equally as impressive.

The inexperienced Cape Cobras attack was not able to emulate this consistency.

Amla has averaged 58 in home tests since 2010 while AB de Villiers is averaging 66.07 at home since 2009, according to the website cricinfo.

But the South African test captain only scored 118 in four tests against India recently, while he also produced only 316 runs in his past 11 One Day Internationals.

Coetsee said: “We must remember that they have come back from a difficult tour to India and entered the Sunfoil Series with a lack of confidence. But they have scored so many runs on these home pitches. They are just one innings away from good form,” he added.

Duminy was unperturbed by his batting performances. “I got an opportunity to play. The England team have always had a formidable attack, but I do believe if we play according to our standards, we can beat them. I won’t read too much into what happened against the Knights.”

Puttick said the Knights came to PPC Newlands a hungry team and played proper first-class cricket.

“We were poor,” he said. “It was sad to see the way we capitulated.”

Asked if the Cobras lacked intensity, Puttick concurred. “The Cape Cobras cannot live on past glories and expect just to rock up and win matches. We must understand we don’t possess the team of the past which included Vernon Philander, Justin Kemp and Alistair Gray.

“Against the VKB Knights, we were not at the races,” said Puttick.