Commendable focus and intensity contributed richly to the resurrection of the Buildnat Cape Cobras, who finished third on the Sunfoil Series log with 94.76 points and won three of their final five matches in the 2016/2017-competition.

They were also denied a possible win against the Warriors at Buffalo Park when the elements thwarted their pursuit of an extra ten points.

Ashwell Prince, the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ coach, saluted the back-to-back centuries by Stiaan van Zyl, who slammed 108 and an unbeaten 101 in the final Sunfoil Series match of the season against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Kingsmead. The clash ended in a stalemate as the Cobras struck 291 for seven.

“We tried to secure five bonus points with the bat and four with the ball to ensure that the VKB Knights and the Multiply Titans had to win their matches to prevent us from clinching the title. When the Knights secured the Sunfoil Series title on Saturday, it was all over for us. The wicket was just too placid and my bowling attack had gone through a lot the last few weeks,” said Prince.

Prince did not mince his words about the wicket. “It was a slightly disappointing track. I thought it could have been more of a result-wicket,” he added.

The former South Africa batsman had high praise for Van Zyl. “It is an enormous pity that Stiaan would be remembered for his failure as a South African opener in India, where, frankly, all the other South African batsmen and the Indian stars also did not score runs.

“I would rather remember him for the century he scored on debut for South Africa,” he said.

“I played 66 tests for South Africa, and I would have rather paid money to see Stiaan bat than to see myself bat.

“I believe he and Andrew Puttick have the credentials to play international cricket, not for South Africa, but anywhere in the world.

“In fact, guys like Andrew, Stiaan and Justin Ontong can play for the Buildnat Cape Cobras as long as they have the hunger and the will to perform. They are that good,” he said.

Puttick struck a 26th first-class ton, a solid 116 in the final match of the season and added 55 in the second innings.

Prince said Jason Smith is a genuine all-rounder who can swing the ball both ways and also play the holding role.

“You don’t need to bowl 150 km/h to be effective. Look at Vernon Philander. But it is not that I compare Jason with Vernon. It is just that Jason is really a very skilled bowler,” he added.

“Aviwe Mgijima performed very, very well for us, by scoring five fifties in the season. And we must remember that he batted at number seven. Mostly, you bat with the number six and you have to shepherd the tail.

“He has established himself very well in the team,” he added.

Prince said the main reason why the Cobras transformed the season from a bottom-of-the-log position to third on the log, was that they secured better focus on and off the field.

During training, he also asked the players to give 100% and to focus on batting for those 45 minutes as if they are emulating a match situation.

That intense focus in the training to emulate the match situation, was an important factor.

“One thing I was proud of, was that the players left everything out on the field.

“I have told the team that what separated them from international players is not skill or ability, but confidence.

“Somebody like a Puttick and a Van Zyl can do what international players can achieve,” he added.

Another positive factor of the Cobras revival which contributed to wins against the VKG Knights and the Multiply Titans, was the superb bowling by the support staff.

When Rory Kleinveldt did not take 5-45, it was Dane Piedt who captured 6-87 or the new kid on the block, Kyle Simmonds. And don’t forget about the aggressive spell by Dane Paterson at Paarl when he took 3-39 to restrict the Knights to 153, a solitary first-innings run lead against the Buildnat Cape Cobras.

Piedt finished the campaign with 28 wickets, Paterson nipped out 23 batsmen and Smith captured 20 scalps.

Ontong, with 595 runs at an average of 53.90, was a standout-batsman, while Van Zyl finished with 709 runs at an average of 47.26 which included three centuries to finish the campaign as the top run scorer for the Cobras.

Puttick struck 477 runs and blasted two tons.

The Cobras will start the Momentum One Day Cup competition with some confidence, and will be bolstered by the return of Richard Levi.

Van Zyl and Ontong have shown with their recent form that they are attacking one-day options and can easily bat at a strike-rate of 90 or more.