An unbeaten century by Zubayr Hamza helped the log-leading World Sports Betting Cape Cobras seize the advantage after two days of their decisive 4-day Domestic Series encounter against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

The right-hander, who made his Test debut for the Standard Bank Proteas against Pakistan earlier this month, was still batting on 104 (207 balls, 12 fours) and his side on 245 for three when bad light ended play early at the City Oval.

By that stage the visitors trailed by just 65 runs in what is their final match of the first-class season.

The Cape side held a lead of just over three points heading into the fixture and they are bidding to hold off the bizhub Highveld Lions, who are playing the Warriors in their last game.

And Ashwell Prince’s side enjoyed a perfect day two, which began brightly through a brilliant Vernon Philander burst that put them on the front foot right from the outset.

The South Africa seamer nabbed four wickets without conceding a run in 14 deliveries on the second morning as the hosts slipped from 293 for six overnight to 310 all out.

It gave him figures of four for 46 in 14.2 overs, with George Linde (4/62) also finishing with four wickets.

It was then over to the batsmen to fire, and led by Hamza, they did not disappoint.

Simon Khomari (14) put on 29 with the in-form Pieter Malan (44) for the first wicket, with the latter then adding 68 with the centurion for the second wicket.

A further 64 followed for the third wicket between David Bedingham (37) and Hamza, who went on to complete his 10th first-class century.

He was still there at the end sharing another useful stand of 84 unbroken with Kyle Verreynne (41 not out).

A century by Vaughn van Jaarsveld helped the Hollywoodbets Dolphins make a solid start to their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the log-leading World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in their decisive final round encounter in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.

The hosts reached the close at the City Oval on 293 for six thanks to the opener’s 21st career century.

Van Jaarsveld made 120 (153 balls, 16 fours, 1 six) and shared in a 111-run opening stand with Michael Erlank, who made exactly 50 (121 balls, 8 fours) in his second game for the franchise. Their partnership laid a solid foundation for basement side the Dolphins against a visiting side who are in pursuit of a first four-day crown since 2013/14.

They went into the game with just over a three-point lead over the bizhub Highveld Lions, but were on the backfoot early on as the home openers got away after losing the toss and being asked to bat first.

After their stand was eventually broken by George Linde, who was outstanding with four for 62, wickets began to fall more regularly.

The Dolphins batsmen would have been kicking themselves, though, as everyone bar Sibonelo Makhanya (0), had starts.

Marques Ackerman (23) added 50 for the second wicket with Van Jaarsveld, with 55 following between the latter and captain Khaya Zondo (25) for wicket number three.

After the dismissal of the centurion left the score on 226 for five, Grant Roelofsen (17) and Senuran Muthusamy (27 not out) added 38 together, with Keshav Maharaj (20 not out) keeping the latter company at the close.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, strengthened by the return of the world-class Vernon Philander and fellow Proteas bowler Dane Paterson, have their destiny in their hands and will leave no stone unturned to beat the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg and win the Four-Day Franchise series.

Those were the positive words from Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the visitors.

“We obviously know we have to go there and win the match. We have an advantage of three points, but will not be looking at the Lions/Warriors game for favours,” Davids added.

It is the last round of Four Day Franchise Series and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras have 171.46 points. They are at the summit, but the bizhub Highveld Lions are close enough to clinch it if they beat the Warriors and the Cobras falter. The Lions have 168.42 points. The last round starts on Monday.

Seam bowler Tladi Bokako is still recovering from an ankle injury and won’t be available for selection. Philander, a world-class campaigner, has been made available for the match by Cricket South Africa and Paterson has been released from the One Day International squad.

Both Davids and the skipper, Dane Piedt, have been impressed by the left-arm swing bowler and former South African U19 player Akhona Mnyaka who recently joined the Cobras ranks.

Speaking about the bowling attack, Davids said the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras have bowled fantastically well in partnerships and that is why the team have taken twenty wickets on seven occasions.

“The support bowling for Piedt in the match against the Multiply Titans, in which Piedt captured 13-141, was superb,” Davids said.

“We will have all the bases covered when we arrive in Pietermaritzburg – off-spin, left-arm swing, right-arm fast and left-arm spin,” Davids said.

The venue is one where bad light plays a role but the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras will be focusing on what they can control and play positively throughout.

Piedt said he would give the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras six out of ten for their performance in Oudtshoorn where they beat the Multiply Titans by eight wickets.

“We lost five wickets for 75 runs and we should have had a first innings lead of 200, not 100 runs. We should have won the match by an innings and 49 runs. The phrases that come to mind when I look forward to the match in Pietermaritzburg are ‘ruthless’ and ‘clinical’.

“That is what we need to be in order to clinch the trophy,” he said.

Pieter Malan, who has officially been handed the vice captaincy role in the team, had severe cramps after being the victim of a bug in the previous match, but he is fit for the match against the Dolphins.

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: Dane Piedt (c), Pieter Malan (vc), David Bedingham, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Dane Paterson, Vernon Philander, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne

“It is the best I have seen Dane Piedt bowl for an extended period and he is throwing his hat into the national ring,” said coach Ashwell Prince.

Prince was speaking after the 13-wicket haul – the best in franchise history of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras – by the skipper of the hosts at Oudtshoorn where he picked up 13-141 in the comprehensive eight-wicket win over the Multiply Titans.

“You don’t take 52 wickets in a season if you don’t bowl attackingly, but having said that, he took wickets and was also economical.

“I thought it was a great effort by the team to limit the Titans to less than 300 in the first innings.

“In the second innings, Dane was in scintillating form and got into a good rhythm, asking questions and the Titans succumbed to a great spell of bowling.

“I thought George Linde bowled well and on another day, they could have shared the spoils and he could have taken five wickets and Dane five. He passed the bat a lot.

“It was a spinner’s wicket but not impossible to bat on and Andrea Agathangelou demonstrated that by scoring 84 in the second innings,” Prince said.

Talking about Piedt, Prince said he would consider him for the tests against Sri Lanka as the touring team have about six left-handers. That does not mean Keshav Maharaj cannot do the job.

Australia pick their best spinner and he is an off-spinner, Nathan Lyon.

“On the tour of India later this year, I would pick Maharaj and Piedt both for the national touring group,” Prince said.

The home captain, who took six for 75 in the first innings, followed that up with seven for 66 to bowl out the defending champions for 151.

It gave the spinner career-best match-figures of 13 for 141 – surpassing the previous best of 12 for 105 taken by Wayne Parnell against the Dolphins at Cape Town in 2015/16.

Victory saw the hosts moved to 171.46 points at the top of the table.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras’ final game is against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at the Maritzburg Oval in Pietermaritzburg starting on Monday.

Piedt captured 45 wickets in eight games in the 2013/2014 season and nipped out 8-152 in his maiden Test against Zimbabwe. His previous Test was against New Zealand at SuperSport Park in Centurion in 2016.

Maharaj has since replaced him and has established himself as a world-class spinner, but he was not picked for the last two tests against Pakistan, as South Africa selected a four-prong pace attack.

 

Dane Piedt returned the best-ever match figures for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in franchise history as they took a massive step towards the 4-Day Domestic Series title with a resounding eight-wicket win over the Multiply Titans late on day three of their clash in Oudtshoorn on Wednesday.

The home captain, who took six for 75 in the first innings, followed that up with seven for 66 to bowl out the defending champions for 151.

It gave the spinner career-best match-figures of 13 for 141 – surpassing the previous best of 12 for 105 taken by Wayne Parnell against the Dolphins at Cape Town in 2015/16.

Piedt also charged past 50 wickets for the season with his new tally of 52 putting him streets ahead of the chasing pack.

Victory saw the home side move to 171,46 points at the top of the table, although their 25-plus point looked certain to be reduced by the end of the round on Thursday.

However, the Cobras did all that was asked for them in their penultimate fixture at the Recreation Ground this week.

They started day three on 299 for five and managed to add 76 for the final five wickets as Jason Smith made 48.

Sixty-eight of those runs came from the sixth-wicket stand between the all-rounder and Ferisco Adams, who managed 27.

Once the stand was broken on 260, all of the Cobras’ five remaining first-innings wickets fell for 15. Amongst those was star opener Pieter Malan, who retired hurt on 95 (184 balls, 12 fours) earlier in his innings, as he lasted three more balls without troubling the scorers.

The pick of the bowlers was Shaun von Berg with four for 137 with the Cape side bowled out for 375 – a lead of exactly 100.

But the Titans’ second innings lasted just 65.1 overs as Piedt made merry. His seven wickets included that of top-scorer Andrea Agathangelou (84 off 181 balls, 10 fours, 2 sixes).

Farhaan Behardien (24) was the only other man to hit the 20s, with the visiting side continuing their inconsistencies with the bat this season.

Apart from Piedt, the other spinner, George Linde, ended with two for 45 to leave the Titans all out for 151 and a victory target of 52 for the Cobras.

Debutant Leus du Plooy (2/29) struck twice as Malan was given a break from opening the batting due to his injury, but Zubayr Hamza (26) and David Bedingham (16) guided their side to a vital win.

 Half-centuries by Pieter Malan and Simon Khomari put the World Sports Betting Cobras in a commanding position at the halfway stage of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Multiply Titans in Oudtshoorn on Tuesday.

The pair shared an opening stand of 135 as the hosts replied to the visitors’ 275 by going to stumps on 299 for five.

Malan, one of the most consistent batsmen in South African first-class cricket over the past two seasons, made 95 (181 balls, 12 fours) and was still unbeaten – although he had to retire hurt due to severe cramp at the Recreation Ground.

Khomari, meanwhile, recorded a career-best 77 (90 balls, 14 fours), beating his previous highest score of 70 against the Warriors at Paarl in 2015/16.

Late wickets did jolt the log-leaders, although they still had five wickets in the bag heading into day three.

Earlier there was heartbreak for Leus du Plooy as he fell three short of a century when he was the last man standing for the Titans unbeaten on 97 (257 balls, 12 fours, 1 six).

Just three runs were added to the away side’s 272 for nine with Alfred Mothoa (1) dismissed by Dane Piedt, who completed an excellent return of six for 75 in 41.2 overs.

The Malan-Khomari stand then provided an excellent backbone for the reply, although it ended when Shaun von Berg (1/101) accounted for the latter.

Zubayr Hamza (28) managed to add 71 for the second wicket, before he was removed by Du Plooy (1/48), before David Bedingham (41) and Kyle Verreynne (17) took the score to 265 for two thanks to another half-century partnership that yielded 59.

The home side lost their way somewhat from there thanks to a double strike by Matthew Arnold (2/42) and one from Mothoa (1/34), but with five wickets still standing, the Cobras held the advantage through a 24-run lead.

 

Leus du Plooy was closing in on a debut century as the Multiply Titans fought their way to 272 for nine on the opening day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the log-leading World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in Oudtshoorn onMonday.

The 24-year-old, who previously represented the VKB Knights, was still batting at the close on an unbeaten 94 (241 balls, 12 fours, 1 six), although he was threading a fine line in terms of three figures with only Alfred Mothoa (1 off 12 balls) left for company.

Du Plooy’s performance lit up an otherwise difficult day for the champions as their struggles from recent games again came back to haunt them.

Spin proved to be their main tormentor at the Recreation Ground where the slow bowlers shared eight of the wickets to fall.

The key man was once again Dane Piedt, the competition’s leading wicket-taker, after he claimed an impressive five for 73 in 39 incredible overs, 10 of which were maidens. There were also three wickets for 87 from George Linde in his 36-over contribution as the title-chasing home side sent down 103 overs on day one.

And they did well for most of the day by chipping away regularly at the visiting batsmen.

After winning the toss, the Titans made a relatively good star by reaching 72 for one thanks to Andrea Agathangelou (29) and Victor Mahlangu (23).

But three quick wickets for Linde and one from Piedt, who now has 44 for the season, suddenly left the away side on 74 for four.

Henry Davids (47) helped Du Plooy add 84 for the fifth wicket to stop the wrath, with another 78 coming for the sixth wicket between the latter and Shaun von Berg (30).

At 236 for five, the Titans were still nicely placed. However, the spinners again strangled them leaving Du Plooy fighting a lone battle at the close.

“Rory Kleinveldt was a phenomenal first-class cricketer for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and South Africa and will be hard to replace in whites for the Cobras,” said coach Ashwell Prince.

He and Dane Piedt, the skipper, hailed the character and playing style of Kleinveldt, who decided to call it a day in first-class cricket after 17 years upon the conclusion of the Four Day Franchise Series match against the Warriors on Thursday.

“He is a highly skilled bowler who bowls a heavy ball and has a never-say-die attitude in the red-ball version of the game,” said Piedt.

“He looked to swing it at the start and then hit the seam consistently. One of his biggest strengths is that he bowled quickly and looked to hit the deck hard.

“The only regret he might have is that he did not score centuries for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras,” added Piedt.

“What he contributed to the first-class arena was something amazing. Nine years ago when I started he took me under his wings and helped me,” Piedt added.

“Rory can be proud of what he has achieved over 17 years. He received the ultimate accolade – he represented his country in tests, One Day Internationals and T20 matches. He forced his way into the national team through the sheer force of performances,” Prince said.

“In the dressing room, he was always a great team-mate and a straight talker.”

As a lower order batsman he was a danger man who regularly found or cleared the ropes and he showed glimpses of his best batting form in his final first-class game against the Warriors, the coach commented.

“He will be remembered as a great runner who never shirked his responsibilities in bowling his overs. Some people made comments about his weight but he did his yo-yo tests and ran 5 kilometres, 10 kilometres and half-marathons,” Prince said.

“He has had a wonderful career and is going to be missed as leader of the attack,” Prince added.

Kleinveldt captured 452 wickets in 148 first-class matches, mostly as carrier of the new ball.

He captured 50 wickets for Northampton in the 2017/2018 season, which included a career-best 9-65.

“Rory was a pivotal part of the World Sport Betting Cape Cobras’ golden trophy-hugging period. One of his greatest traits is his longevity and his all-round role and determination will be missed,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA).

“I saw Rory’s skills and ability very early in his career. In fact at 16 years of age I sent him to the UK and only saw him on an upward trajectory since then – representing SA U19, Western Province, Cobras and South Africa.

“He has been an outstanding servant of the game,” Dien added.

“Rory played club cricket while still at school and served Western Province and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras with distinction over a period of 17 years. We are grateful he will still be available in the white-ball formats as he has been a leader of the attack for such an extensive period,” said Beresford Williams, president of the WPCA.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras will return to their positive, dynamic approach and endeavour to step up a gear when they meet the Multiply Titans, in Oudtshoorn in the penultimate round of the Four Day Franchise Series.

The match starts on Monday.

Assistant coach Faiek Davids was candid about the shortcomings of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in the six-wicket loss to the Warriors.

“We did not score enough runs in the first innings and there were a number of soft dismissals.

“We needed to establish greater partnerships in the first innings. What is needed, is one top-order batsman to score 150 and two others to record half-centuries.

“We will welcome back Zubayr Hamza after he played in his maiden Test for South Africa. It will be a great bonus,” said Davids.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras did not take twenty wickets in the match against the Warriors. “We lost Dane Paterson to the Proteas, but that is an opportunity for somebody from outside the squad to step in and step up a gear and perform with great energy,” said Davids.

He said the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras need to be more ruthless and clinical with bat and ball against the Multiply Titans.

The hosts will be without Janneman Malan, whose fractured finger has not sufficiently healed for him to face the new ball against the Titans.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras management team is hoping he will be ready for the final round of matches against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins.

The same applies to Tladi Bokako, who has had a cortisone injection in his troublesome ankle. Cobras physio Shane Jabaar is in charge of his rehabilitation program and he said he hopes Bokako’s ankle will heal in time for the final round of matches.

The four day race is wide open with the Cobras on 146.82, just 1.60 points ahead of the bizhub Highveld Lions on 145.22.

But Davids says the focus should not be on the points, but on doing the basics brilliantly against the Titans and to be positive and dynamic with bat and ball. In that case, the log will take care of itself.

New signing Akhona Mnyaka comes straight into the 13-man squad, while there is a return to the squad for Ferisco Adams.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: Dane Piedt (c), Ferisco Adams, David Bedingham, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, George Linde, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams

Western Cape Cricket CEO Nabeal Dien confirmed on Sunday that the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras have completed the signing of promising young left arm swing bowler Akhona Mnyaka on a rookie contract.

“We are very happy with this signing and welcome Akhona to the Cobras setup. He understands what the expectations are when it comes to wearing the Cobras jersey and we have no doubt that he is up for the challenge,” said Dien.

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras head coach Ashwell Prince expressed his delight about signing the 19-year-old. “I am delighted to have secured the services of Akhona Mnyaka. He was very impressive for South Africa during the U19 World Cup last year, finishing the tournament as the leading wicket taker for SA with 9 wickets and he was also the Coca-Cola T20 Schools player of the year in the School’s competition they had last year.”

“We know that we have secured a very promising young left arm bowler and of course with people like Wayne Parnell leaving the Cobras at the start of the season and having never been replaced up until now, he will fulfill that final 18th contract position for the rest of the season,” he added.

“The acquisition is more about the long term future rather than the immediate future, but, having said that, with the spate of injuries and call ups to the Proteas ODI squad and Rory announcing his retirement from first-class cricket after the last game, he does become available for selection straight away in four day cricket and for the rest of the one day competitions.

“We are excited about his future with the Cobras,” Prince concluded.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras take on the Multiply Titans in Round 9 of the Four Day Franchise Series at The Recreation Ground starting on Monday.

The Cobras lead the competition with 2 rounds remaining.