Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza both recorded franchise-best scores as the WSB Cape Cobras battled back on day three of their Sunfoil Series clash against the Warriors at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The pair shared in a superb 214-run second wicket stand to help the visitors reach 387 for eight declared, before reducing the host to 71 for two at the close, a lead of 136.

Day three was mainly about the performances of Malan and Hamza, with the former going on to make 124 (237 balls, 15 fours). It was a 24th time in first-class cricket the opener had recorded a three-figure score, but only the second time in the franchise competition.

For Hamza, his 111 (182 balls, 17 fours, 1 six) was a maiden century at this level surpassing his previous best score of 68 and his sixth ton overall.

After they departed, veteran Justin Ontong made 59 (71 balls, 9 fours), but there was not too much else from the Cobras batsmen.

Standard Bank Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi managed one for 137 in 35 overs on debut for the Warriors, whose captain Jon-Jon Smuts picked up four for 38.

But his side then slipped to 23 for two thanks to a Dane Paterson (2/8) double strike, before Lesiba Ngoepe (23) and Yaseen Vallie (22) took them to the close in a solid position.

A maiden franchise century by Jerry Nqolo helped the Warriors build a strong first innings total but the WSB Cape Cobras fought back late on day two of their Sunfoil Series clash at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

The all-rounder made an unbeaten 105 (172 balls, 11 fours, 1 six) as the hosts declared on 452 for six, before the visitors replied with 161 for one – trailing by 291.

Nqolo, whose previous best score at this level was 64, shared in a Warriors record 185-run sixth wicket partnership with Clyde Fortuin, who was eventually the last man out for 92 (146 balls, 14 fours, 1 six), his own career-bestshowing with the bat.

It was a good effort from the home side after they had begun the day on 263 for four. Captain Jon-Jon Smuts made 49, with the pick of the bowlers being his opposite number Dane Piedt with three for 86.

But the visitors replied strongly after the early loss of Andrew Puttick (18) to Sisanda Magala (1/34).

Zubayr Hamza was not out on 75 (105 balls, 12 fours, 1 six) with Pieter Malan on 63 (126 balls, 6 fours) keeping him company as the pair shared an unbroken stand of 124 to take their side to the close in a decent position.

 

Eddie Moore recorded his second successive century as the Warriors made a strong start to their Sunfoil Series encounter against the WSB Cape Cobras at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

The left-hander made exactly 100 (198 balls, 12 fours, 1 six) to help the hosts reach stumps on the opening day of the round two encounter on 263 for four.

It was Moore’s sixth first-class hundred and came hot on the heels of his fifth career ton, which came in the opening fixture of the season against the bizhub Highveld Lions in Johannesburg last week.

He put on 111 for the second wicket with Yaseen Vallie, who made 63 (159 balls, 9 fours), after the Warriors had won the toss and batted first.

Despite both falling, captain Jon-Jon Smuts was going strong at the close with an unbeaten 46.

His opposite number, Dane Piedt, was the most successful bowler after collecting three for 55.

Finding that extra gear and possessing the right mindset while batting in the first innings are two important ingredients for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in their Sunfoil Series match against the Warriors (starting on Thursday at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth), said Ashwell Prince, the coach.

Prince said in a jam-packed Sunfoil Series the team requires a balance between rest and training and the Cobras did just that after the VKB Knights match.

He said the debriefing on Monday was a vital aspect of the preparations for the Warriors match. The team discussed the difference between the mind-set in the first innings and the second innings while batting.

The presence of JP Duminy and his experience was a boost for the team while discussing the right mental frame of mind when batting first.

One of the vital aspects of preparing for a Sunfoil Series match is to respect your opponents and expect them to bat and bowl well. “You just have to do it a bit better. That is one thing I have realized in my career. There are just a few games in which your opponents turn up and don’t play well at all. There are small margins and you have to edge your opponents,” he said.

Prince highlighted the importance of starting well and establishing a comprehensive first-innings total. If a team doesn’t do that, and ends up 200 runs behind, they are always likely to play catch-up cricket.

Wayne Parnell was not released by Cricket South Africa from the first-test squad against Bangladesh.

But Prince said the Cobras possessed good all-rounders in the team in Jason Smith and Dayyaan Galiem. He added that Simon Khomari should be braver and ask his skipper for an opportunity to bowl, because with his left-arm variations, he can pose a few questions to opposing teams.

Smith struck 500 runs last season and captured 20 wickets. He is clearly a batting all-rounder.

Galiem, though, is still at the infancy stage of his franchise career. “He can swing the ball and run through sides, and as a batsman, he can score you centuries. But he is still finding his feet at franchise level, so it is difficult to determine whether he is a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder,” he added.

Prince was in awe of the defiance displayed by the WSB Cape Cobras on a flat track in Bloemfontein, culminating in a score of 567 for six in the second innings.

The Spirited Cricket Fund benefited richly from the partnerships in the WSB Cape Cobras’ batting innings and the team has already accumulated R22 500,00 for beneficiaries.

Now Prince wants more of those partnerships to occur in the first innings and for the Cobras to set up a healthy lead.

“Do we have the personnel to clinch this match? Yes, we do. We have the experience and if there are something in the pitch for the bowlers, we can definitely grab the opportunity. The pitch in Bloemfontein was definitely too flat,” he added.

WSB Cape Cobras Squad: Dane Piedt (Captain) Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Dane Paterson, Andrew Puttick, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams

If the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras regularly get off to a flyer and establish more first innings’ leads in four-day games, they will be difficult to stop.

The return of all-rounder Jason Smith also makes this team a better balanced unit for the Sunfoil Series clash against the Warriors at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth (starting on Thursday), said Dane Piedt, the skipper.

The tendency to play catch-up cricket has been a trait of the WSB Cape Cobras, and it is something the team is addressing in order to get their noses in front early in four-day games. If they do produce an early lead, they will be a more rampant force.

Speaking about their dismissal for a lowly 159 against the VKB Knights and how the team transformed their fortunes with a gritty performance from day two, Piedt said the WSB Cape Cobras is “built around character.”

The team showed little character on the first day and the coach, Ashwell Prince, expressed his dissatisfaction and anger about their display. They responded almost immediately and stood up to the challenges.

The current bowling attack is a young and inexperienced one and they must just find a way to capture 20 wickets in every match.

Smith has definitely picked up pace in the off-season and he will ensure it is a better-balanced bowling unit. Piedt said he thought Smith was a bit unlucky that he did not shave Wiaan Mulder for a position in the test squad (against Bangladesh).

“He is a bit of a maverick,” Piedt said about Smith, while referring to Smith’s aggressive and fearless approach to batting. He said in this regard, Smith reminds one a bit of Quinton de Kock.

He was disappointed in his own batting performances for the SA A team, but the presence of Prince as coach and Faiek Davids as assistant coach will aid Smith in knuckling down and improving his shot selection at number five, the skipper remarked.

Piedt said the absence of Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell for the second match is almost a blessing in disguise because it forces the attack to be brutally honest about their own shortcomings and find a way to capture 20 wickets. “But we are moving in the right direction.”

Justin Ontong, who struck a magnificent 128 in the second innings in Bloemfontein, said the Cobras must learn as a batting unit.

“When we batted in the first innings, there were too many soft dismissals and at the wrong times,” he added.

Ontong said the collective reaction of the team will bolster their confidence ahead of the match against the Warriors.

Asked about his 128, one of the highlights of the WSB Cape Cobras’ heroic counter-offensive, Ontong said he knew they needed to bat for two days to save the match.

“So I had to reel in my natural instincts, but it helped to have a master batting with me in Hashim Amla,” added Ontong.

At the practice at PPC Newlands on Tuesday, quite a few senior players and the management team were excited about the performance by Kyle Verreynne, who mercilessly hooked and pulled the test fast bowler Duanne Olivier during his unbeaten 42 in Bloemfontein.

Piedt said one of the greatest characteristics of the new WSB Cape Cobras’ culture, is that players are given the confidence to walk out and express themselves.

WSB Cape Cobras Squad: Dane Piedt (Captain) Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Dane Paterson, Andrew Puttick, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams

 

It was a phenomenal innings by the best batsman in South Africa, is how Ashwell Prince described the 189 crafted in 482 minutes by Hashim Amla as the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras assembled a gigantic 567 for six on Friday on the final day of the first Sunfoil Series match of the season against the VKB Knights at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.

The match ended in a stalemate. The WSB Cape Cobras were dismissed for 159 in their first innings and the VKB Knights hammered 623 for four in reply. In the second innings, the Cobras were defiant and answered the call by Prince prior to the season to show their mettle and character under pressure.

“There are two types of centuries that count – those who win you games and those that draw you matches and all three of our centurions – Hashim, Aviwe Mgijima and Justin Ontong – helped us to achieve that draw,” Prince, the WSB Cape Cobras coach, said.

Ontong struck 16 fours and two sixes in his 128 off 193 balls. Amla blasted 22 fours and three sixes in his 189 while spending eight hours and two minutes in the middle. It was the perfect preparation for the first Test against Bangladesh at Senwes Park.

Mgijima toiled for 238 minutes in compiling 112 which included 13 fours and a six.

Prince said Ontong was very disappointed at holing out at cover in the first innings and was determined to set the record straight. He came to the crease after the fall of two quick wickets and showed his experience in a match-saving partnership of 251 with Amla. “You cannot defend, defend, defend for two days. And that is what Justin and Hashim knew. They rotated the strike so well and demonstrated how experienced they are,” he remarked.

The coach applauded Amla for his composure and how he controlled the tempo of the innings. He said he turned half decent deliveries into scoring opportunities and also underlined why he is rated one of the best players of spin in the world.

“You know how it is with test players. They are not happy with getting out for half-centuries. And after his 50 in the first innings, Hashim wanted to make a big one. It was the Amla of old.

“He was relaxed at the crease. There was no stress and no anxiety,” he said.

Prince applauded Mgijima as a supreme team man and one of the most popular players in the dressing room.

His first first-class century was the result of two winters of extremely hard work, Prince said.

“Last season he batted at number seven, and when you are playing with the lower order, you might manufacture shots here and there. But this time he was playing at number six and knew there were still players below him who can perform with the bat,” Prince added.

Mgijima was understandably elated about his first first-class ton, but chose to congratulate the team rather than reflect too extensively on his century.

“We showed a lot of character today (Friday), something we discussed at length before the season started.

“We wanted to bat for the full day, and I was determined to stay there until we had saved the day.

“When I was on 96, I struck the ball past cover off Werner Coetsee to get to 100. I was not that demonstrative. I was batting with Kyle Verreynne at the time. I went back into my shell, because I did not want to lose my wicket and allow them to skittle us out,” Mgijima said.

“The whole team must be commended for the way we showed character after the first day. We came back nicely with the ball and the batsmen showed they can push on and do big things when required,” the centurion and WSB Cape Cobras’ player of 2016/2017 added.

“The batting performance in the second innings will boost our confidence ahead of our next match against the Warriors in Port Elizabeth,” an upbeat Prince said.

Rudi Second, Werner Coetsee, Hashim Amla and Justin Ontong all scored unbeaten centuries on day three of the Sunfoil Series clash between the VKB Knights and WSB Cape Cobras at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein where the hosts closed in a strong position on Thursday.

Standard Bank Proteas star Amla was still batting at stumps on 121 (207 balls, 13 fours, 2 sixes), while Ontong was with him at the other end on 124 (181 balls, 15 fours, 2 sixes) – but their side was still trailing by 160 with a day to play after ending on 304 for three.

This after Coetsee and Second had earlier joined team-mates Theunis de Bruyn (195) and Keegan Petersen (141) with three figure scores of their own, making it the first time in the history of franchise cricket that four players on one side had hit tons in the same innings.

However, it was the fourth instance that this had happened in South African cricket.

All-rounder Coetsee made 105 (135 balls, 10 fours, 2 sixes), his ninth career century, and wicketkeeper Second completed his 16th ton when he reached 101 (176 balls, 11 fours). The pair put on 210 together for the fifth wicket.

The declaration then followed on a massive 623 for four, the second highest team total overall and biggest for the Knights in franchise history.

The Cobras, who made a paltry 159 in the first innings, needed some inspiration to get going in what is the first match of the season and it came through veteran duo Amla and Ontong after they added a Cobras record 246 for the fourth wicket that was still going with a day to go.

It was the 48th time Amla scored a hundred in his career and the 26th time for Ontong. Both will need to bat on to give their side a chance of salvaging something from the opening game of the season.

 

Captain Theunis de Bruyn led a resounding batting response from the champion VKB Knights as they dominated day two of their season-opening Sunfoil Series clash against the WSB Cape Cobras at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

The Standard Bank Proteas batsman amassed 195 (259 balls, 24 fours, 1 six) to help the hosts reach stumps on 551 for four – a monumental lead of 392 after shooting out the visitors for 159 on the opening day.

De Bruyn put on a fixture record partnership of 295 for the second wicket with Keegan Petersen, who eventually fell for 141 (283 balls, 18 fours). The scores of both batsmen were their highest in franchise cricket, while the stand was the third highest for the Knights in their history.

Even after they fell, more pain was to come for the Cobras bowlers as David Miller made 39, followed by an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 139 between Werner Coetsee (70 off 94 balls, 8 fours, 1 six) and Rudi Second (65 off 136 balls, 8 fours).

Justin Ontong was the pick of the bowlers with one for 48.

 

The VKB Knights made a strong start to their Sunfoil Series title defence after five wickets from Shadley van Schalkwyk put them on top against the WSB Cape Cobras at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

The medium-pacer claimed a tidy five for 30 in 15 overs, which included the wickets of Standard Bank Proteas stars Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma, to send the visitors packing for 159, before the hosts replied with 180 for one by stumps, a lead of 21.

The response was led by an unbroken 150-run stand between another Test player and Knights captain Theunis de Bruyn (81 off 106 balls, 12 fours) and Keegan Petersen (70 off 143 balls, 8 fours).

It was a commanding opening day of the 2017/18 campaign by the home side, who had lost the toss at the start and were asked to field first.

But that did not hamper them as last season’s top wicket-taker, Duanne Olivier, provided fine support for Van Schalkwyk with three for 58 – the pair ensuring the Cape visitors were dismantled in 41 overs.

Amla was the only batsman to make his mark with a fluent 56 (70 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes), with Bavuma getting 25.

Knights debutant Eddie Leie picked up one for three in his solitary over.

Grant Mokoena (16) fell early in the reply, but that was as good as it got for the Cobras, with De Bruyn and Petersen punishing them with a stand that left the hosts in a powerful position.

The Global T20 competition is a thrilling concept, yet the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras must stay passionate and focused on their top priority of winning domestic silverware in the 2017/2018 season, said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Cobras.

Dien spoke at the launch of the new Sunfoil Series season, which starts on Tuesday. The Cobras and the defending champions, the VKB Knights, will clash at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein in their first match.

He encouraged the Cobras squad to stay committed to the core values of the franchise: legacy, their fans, their future and their history.

The proud Cape champions won 5 titles between 2012 and 2015 and produced 21 international players since the dawn of the new millennium.

Dane Piedt, the Cobras skipper, said the coach, Ashwell Prince, told the squad: “What is the point of playing if you don’t play to win silverware?”

“We did not cover ourselves in glory last season, and we have a point to prove. We are capable of winning the (Sunfoil Series) trophy,” he added.

Temba Bavuma, who joined Dien, Piedt and Prince as well as the World Sports Betting representatives Warren Tannous and Ryno du Plessis for some questions and answers with Jeremy Harris of Heart FM, said PPC Newlands fuelled his passion and desire to play for South Africa while he was a kid.

Asked about what words were exchanged between him and Ben Stokes on the way to his maiden test century in January 2016, Bavuma reacted philosophically. “I would rather not say what was said.”

He said when there is sledging, every player reacts differently while still staying true to the competitive streak within one’s self.