Indifferent bowling to nine, ten and Jack and perhaps a lack of clear vision on how to dismiss the tailenders contributed to the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ unconvincing bowling performances against the VKB Knights, said Dane Paterson.

The Knights beat the Cape Cobras by 175 runs in the previous round of Sunfoil Series matches in Bloemfontein.

Paterson (27) was a standout-performer for South Africa A in the quadrangular tournament in Australia during the South African off-season.

But the fast bowler admits he is not operating at the peak of his powers right now.

Asked to explain why he is not satisfied with his current form, he says the rhythm is lacking.

Paterson is a whole-hearted performer who gives 110 % every time he steps onto the park.

From the vantage point of the main pavilion of PPC Newlands, he gives one the impression that he is the enforcer in the pack, but Paterson says he doesn’t consider himself a strike bowler. “I’m the one who must take wickets, but must also keep the batsmen quiet,” he adds.

This Paterson has done during a successful first-class career. He has captured 252 wickets in 74 matches at an average of 22.94 and an extraordinary strike-rate of 42.7.

Asked about his trade, Paterson said he has worked in tandem with Vincent Barnes and Paul Adams to generate late swing through the air. “It is important not to get the swing too early, because then the batsmen will line you up,” he said.

Paterson said the Buildnat Cape Cobras might have erred by having a different game-plan for the lower order batsmen in the Sunfoil Series game against the VKB Knights. One of the ploys was to bowl Yorkers.

Perhaps they would have been better served by bowling to the lower order in a similar fashion than to the specialist batsmen, he added.

Paterson believes the wicket at PPC Newlands where the Buildnat Cape Cobras will meet the Warriors in a Sunfoil Series match from Thursday, could give the hosts’ attack opportunities to strike repeatedly.

A Paterson in full cry is a sight to behold. The brave-hearted warrior captured 42 wickets in the 2014/2015-season, but he admits that he needs to recapture his rhythm in order to force the national selectors to take notice of his prowess.

Stiaan van Zyl has set the bar very high for himself, and, indirectly, he has also challenged his teammates to follow suit.

The number-four batsman of the Buildnat Cape Cobras said it is still his aim to score 1000 four-day runs in a season. “If I do that, and somebody else also amasses a big number, we will win the competition,” he said.

A case in point was in 2013/2014, when Van Zyl struck 933 runs while Justin Ontong managed 927 runs. The Cape Cobras won the Sunfoil Series in emphatic style in that season.

The stylish left-hander is keenly aware that he is not the player of 2014-vintage, and that’s something is still lacking.

He elaborated at length on his failure to capitalize on a first-innings score of 83 in Bloemfontein against the VKB Knights. “I should have gone on and made a big score like 150,” he explained.

Van Zyl says the failure of the top-order at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in the first Sunfoil Series-match of the season should almost be written off as one of those unfortunate things. The wicket was a very unforgiving one on which to play. When Hardus Viljoen got it in the right area, the alarm bells were ringing.

But in their 175-run defeat against the VKB Knights the Buildnat Cape Cobras might have been too eager to feel bat on ball. “It is early season and the batsmen are keen to hit the ball.

“Consequently, we are dismissed within 70 overs.

“I do think we need to occupy the crease and bat time. We should be batting for sessions and if we are still there after 96 overs at the end of the day we will have close to 300 runs.

“I plan to bat for more than a session and occupy the crease.”

Asked if he is not concerned that an ultra-defensive approach might get himself into a negative space of mind and that he will consequently bat himself into a hole, Van Zyl says that is not the case.

“You can always catch up later, but we have to bat for longer periods,” he said.

Van Zyl’s attitude can pay dividends.

Currently, Jason Smith is batting superbly, but he requires a top-order batsman to stay with him. If that happens, and Zubayr Hamza and Matthew Kleinveldt also fire, the Buildnat Cape Cobras could amass a substantial first-innings total against the Warriors in the Sunfoil Series clash starting on Thursday 20th October at PPC Newlands.

Although the scorecard would reflect substantial defeats, both the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ first two Sunfoil Series clashes were closely contested matches, and had a number of catches stuck, things could have been different and a win might have been possible instead of the 175-run defeat against the VKB Knights on Friday (14th October), said Ashwell Prince.

Prince, a former South African middle-order stalwart and assistant coach of the Buildnat Cape Cobras, also saluted the excellent contributions of three young top- and middle-order batsmen who have played only a handful of matches between them – Jason Smith, Matthew Kleinveldt and Zubayr Hamza.

The aggressive Kleinveldt slammed 97 in his previous franchise-game two seasons ago. Against a hostile and terrifyingly quick fast bowling attack, he slammed 47 and 54 while displaying no fear against Messrs Marchant de Lange and Duanne Olivier of the VKB Knights.

“He is almost an Australian type of opener,” said Prince. “He pulls and hooks well off the back foot and hits beautifully straight. He might not have the range of attacking shots of a Smith, but that is also good because as an opener you don’t necessarily want to play too many strokes.”

Smith struck 95 against the bizhub Highveld Lions and in his second game of the season, slammed an unbeaten 100 off 88 balls against the VKB Knights.

While the pace was not a factor at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium, he had to adjust to the swing and seam.

At the Mangaung Oval he had to adapt to the pace, the hostility, venom and short-pitched bowling of De Lange and Olivier.

He did splendidly, as did Hamza and Kleinveldt. When the bowlers strayed in line and length, the three young disciplined batsmen were quick on the counter-offensive.

“Jason has the long arms and the long levers. He can clear the boundary with ease. He is equally good off the front and back foot and find the boundary ropes to all sides of the wicket,” said an impressed Prince.

The assistant coach said a couple of botched chances in the field cost the Buildnat Cape Cobras. There was a drop in the slips before Pite van Biljon and Rudi Second had shared in a 60-run partnership in the second innings. Both scored centuries to set up the win for the Knights.

There were also a number of opportunities in the outfield that was possibly not utilized by the Cobras, Prince added.

He said he was happy with the performance of Stiaan van Zyl, who struck 83 in the first innings. “The old Stiaan is back,” Prince added.

Regarding Omphile Ramela, Prince said he was the victim of some splendid deliveries in both games. In the second innings of the second match against the Knights, he unfortunately could not get out of the way of a delivery by De Lange that hit him on the glove and spooned up to short leg.

Yet, despite the 10-wicket defeat in the first match and the 175-run loss in the second match against the Knights, the performance of the three young musketeers, Smith, Hamza and Kleinveldt, would give the Buildnat Cape Cobras reason to keep on believing.

A simple game-plan against arguably the fastest opening bowlers in South Africa contributed to Matthew Kleinveldt’s highly satisfactory performance for the Buildnat Cape Cobras in Bloemfontein.

The VKB Knights won by 175 runs, but Kleinveldt was defiant, adventurous and aggressive despite a hostile assault by Duanne Olivier and Marchant de Lange.

He slammed 47 as opener in the first innings and 54 in the second.

“My game-plan was to play very straight and to attack down the ground if they planted it full. If they bowled short, I did use the cut shot, which is one of my best strokes,” he said.

Although he pulls very well, he hardly employed that ploy in the first spell by Olivier and De Lange and rather swayed out of the way. He said he waited for the second spell to dispatch short deliveries to the square leg boundary.

Kleinveldt, an experienced opener who plies his trade for Western Province in the Sunfoil Three-Day Cup, has struck six centuries and 23 half-centuries in his first-class career.

He is not satisfied with his conversion rate, and said he wants to capitalize more on bright starts. “If I want to cement my place in the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ team, I will have to go big when I’m off to a flyer,” he adds.

Kleinveldt, when probed about the shortcomings of the bowling attack, said the VKB Knights edged the Cape Cobras in that department because they applied pressure from both ends.

“We created some pressure from one end, but then released it by leaking runs from the other end. Consequently, they were just better than us.

“By building pressure, they created chances to get wickets. We did not do that,” he added.

Kleinveldt has now showed promising signs in three of his previous four-day matches for the Cobras, with scores of 97, 47 and 54.

The Buildnat Cape Cobras’ next four-day match will start on Thursday 20th October at PPC Newlands against the Warriors. The Eastern Cape franchise beat the defending champions, the Multiply Titans, by six wickets in their previous Sunfoil Series clash.

“I have had no doubt since I first set eyes on Matthew that he has got the class to succeed at the franchise-level,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Western Province Cricket Association.

MARCHANT DE LANGE claimed six wickets as the VKB Knights made it two Sunfoil Series wins from two with a commanding 175-run win over the BuildNat Cape Cobras at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Friday.

The Proteas fast bowler finished with 6/61 in an excellent spell of 18 overs as the visitors were bowled out for 268.

However, De Lange was not the only man to perform on the final day.
There was also an explosive unbeaten 100 (88 balls, 17 fours, 1 six) from Jason Smith, the promising young all-rounder who has been tipped for big things.

It was the first three-figure score of his brief franchise career and came three days after his 22nd birthday as the Cobras had something to smile about from what has otherwise been a disappointing start to the season.

They had started out the day on 127/2 and needing a further 317 to achieve the victory target of 444.

But six runs into the morning, they lost key man Stiaan van Zyl (5) to De Lange, while the set Zubayr Hamza (68 off 94 balls, 12 fours) fell after adding just 16 to his overnight score. There was little else that came from Cape side’s batsmen, bar Smith’s magnificence, as the Cobras were all out in 59.4 overs.

Mbulelo Budaza bagged 2/23 and Shadley van Schalkwyk 2/36 as the Knights picked up 18.84 points for their win.

The visitors, meanwhile, took away 6.82 points after a second successive loss of the campaign.

Michael Owen Smith

CENTURIES from Pite van Biljon and Rudi Second ensured the VKB Knights were in the driving seat after day three of their Sunfoil Series clash against the BuildNat Cape Cobras at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

The pair shared in a fixture record 203-run fourth-wicket partnership that helped the hosts amass 342 and set a victory target of 444.

By the close, the visitors had reached 127/2 thanks to half-centuries by Matthew Kleinveldt and Zubayr Hamza, still needing a further 317 for victory.

The Knights had started he third day on 69/3 with Van Biljon going on to record his 10th career century, before falling for 123 (182 balls, 16 fours, 1 six). Second notched up the 11th ton of his career on his way to a score of 106 (154 balls, 15 fours, 2 sixes).

The stand ended on 246 with Second the first of the overnight pair to fall, with the lower order then managing to add less than a 100 as they were dismissed in 77 overs.

The pick of the bowlers was surprisingly Omphile Ramela, with his left-arm spin yielding 4/39 in eight overs. The Cobras captain had only managed two wickets in his Sunfoil Series career previously.

Ramela failed with the bat by making nine to leave his team on 24/1, but Kleinveldt and Hamza put on 90 for the second wicket, before the former was out for 54 (56 balls, 9 fours). Hamza was still there at stumps on 52 (64 balls, 9 fours) as the Knights stayed in control.

 

Michael Owen Smith