HALF-CENTURIES from Justin Ontong and Omphile Ramela ensured the Cape Cobras ended day three of their Sunfoil Series clash against the Sunfoil Dolphins with some hope at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Saturday.

Following on from their first-innings 216, the visitors reached stumps on 154 for two, trailing by 35.

But it represented a spirited comeback, which was led by the unbroken 113-run third-wicket stand. Captain Ramela was on 60 from 164 deliveries, while Ontong had 55 from 144 balls after their side had earlier slipped into trouble on 41 for two.

The two batsmen to fall were Matthew Kleinveldt (27) and Simon Khomari (seven).

Keshav Maharaj (1-67), who took one of the two wickets to fall, was the star of the day for the home side.

The left-arm spinner bagged five for 62 in the first inning, leaving the Capetonians with a 189-run deficit.

Apart from Maharaj’s 11th career five-for, Craig Alexander also took three for 49, while Ramela top-scored with 89.

The Cobras had been five down for 157 overnight and only managed to add 59 for their final five wickets.

Michael Owen Smith

HALF-CENTURIES by Daryn Smit and David Miller helped the Sunfoil Dolphins fight back on the opening day of their Sunfoil Series clash against the Cape Cobras at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Thursday.

The hosts reached stumps on 284 for seven, although the initiative did rest slightly in favour of the visitors.

Smit, who is amongst the leading run-scorers this season, struck 64, while Miller made 54 on a day when several Dolphins’ batsmen had starts.

The pair shared the highest partnership of 97 for the fifth wicket for their side, while there were also some good starts for Imraan Khan (32), Sarel Erwee (45) and Andile Phehlukwayo (35).

The hosts had won the toss and opted to bat first in Durban, with openers Khan and Erwee putting on 56 for the opening wicket.

But three wickets fell by lunch handing the initiative to the Cobras.

And when stand-in captain Khaya Zondo, who made history by becoming the first Black African captain of the Dolphins, fell for a duck straight after the interval it was 106 for four.

But the Smit-Miller stand rescued their side, before Keshav Maharaj (30 not out) attacked late on to raise further hopes for the home team.

Tshepo Moreki (2-37) and Justin Ontong (2-38) were the pick of the bowlers for the Cape side.

 

The Cape Cobras, bolstered by the imminent return of a quartet of international stars, could strengthen their position at the summit of the log when the second round of the Momentum One Day Cup competition kicks off with a match against the Sunfoil Dolphins at PPC Newlands on Friday 29th January.

“We will have Dane Vilas, Stiaan van Zyl and Wayne Parnell back for the second round of the Momentum One Day Cup competition. Vernon Philander is still busy with rehabilitation, but he could also join us soon,” said Justin Ontong, the Cape Cobras-captain in the limited-overs format.

“Currently, we are enjoying a momentum swing and the team has played superbly the past two weeks.

“We are keen to build on that momentum when we the second half of the domestic 50-over series commences against the Dolphins,” the skipper said.

The Cobras will be bolstered by an attack full of international stars, as Philander, Parnell, Rory Kleinveldt, Beuran Hendricks, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dane Piedt and Robin Peterson will be available for the full second round or for at least a part of it.

Dane Paterson has not earned international stripes yet, but he has walked away with five accolades at national or franchise-level in 2015 after a magnificent 2014/2015-season.

Details of the match are as follows:

CAPE COBRAS VS SUNFOIL DOLPHINS

Date: Friday, 29 January 2016

Venue: PPC Newlands

Time: 2pm (Gates open at 12:30pm)

Ticket price: Adults: R60 (seat) & R50 (grass); children: R30 (seat) & R25 (grass); pensioners R30 (seat) & R25 (grass)

A few Cobras-players are destined to participate in the Masters Champions League from 28th January and 13th February, and will miss the first half of the second round. They included Richard Levi, Peterson, Justin Kemp and Rory Kleinveldt.

“The return of some players from the test squad and from rehabilitation could assist us to get off to a rollicking start despite not having a few players available. The Cobras are seasoned campaigners in the Momentum One Day Cup campaign, having reached the finals the past three seasons and having shared the spoils in two of those three finals.

“Our explosive approach and our attacking brand as well as the experience in our squad can contribute to another successful campaign. But we are determined not to be bridesmaid again like we were last season.

“We want to lift the trophy. We are calling on our most trusted allies, our fans, to rally their support behind us when we play at PPC Newlands and Boland Park.  With their assistance, we have every reason to feel optimistic,” said Ontong.

Stephen Cook will make his debut for South Africa at age 33 in the fourth test against England at SuperSport Park on Friday after a 165-match first-class career in which he has assembled 11427 runs and struck 35 centuries. That much was evident when Stiaan van Zyl was spotted back at PPC Newlands at the Cape Cobras training on Tuesday.

Cook will probably open the innings with the senior statesman Den Elgar.

Van Zyl said the selection committee told him they want to use specialist openers (in tests).

“They also advised that I decide whether I want to commit myself to the opening position or the middle-order. I possibly lean towards the number-3, or number-4 position, but will first discuss it with trusted allies (including the management of the Cape Cobras) before I make a final decision.

“I think the decision to omit me is reasonable because I had some fair chances. The things that hurt the most are not my ducks or the single-figure totals, but the fact that I did not convert 30’s and 40’s. At the same time, it just underlines that I can play at that level and hang around.

“I don’t feel out of my depth. I have had a taste of test cricket and I’m vowing to return to the domestic first-class arena and score as many runs as possible,” Van Zyl said

“Stiaan is a brilliant batsman. You don’t average 44 at first-class level if you are not one,” said Jacques Rudolph, a former South African opener. “It is important that he finds his identity in either the opening position or the middle-order again, and then press for selection through the sheer volume of runs.”

Neil McKenzie, one of the former Wisden-players of the year for his exploits during 2008 as a makeshift-opener for South Africa, said Van Zyl is still a quality-player who has shown his mettle at domestic level, and he might emerge stronger from being dropped.

Van Zyl was sensational in the 2013/2014-season when he blasted 933 runs in a Sunfoil Series-season.

On test debut, he compiled a century at SuperSport Park in Centurion against the West Indies.

But he has struggled as a makeshift-opener at international level, scoring 21,11,0,4,0,33,15,21,0 and 5 in his last ten innings.

Van Zyl would probably be drafted into the top-four for the Sunfoil Series match against the Sunfoil Dolphins starting on Thursday at Kingsmead. He will no doubt bolster the Cobras, as he has been a class act since making his debut for the domestic powerhouse franchise.

 

The fourth youngest South African to hit a double hundred in first-class cricket will make his franchise-debut for the Cape Cobras while two other evolving stars are also poised to assist the Cape champions’ quest to stay in touch with the Sunfoil Series-leaders by repeating their heroics of last season against the Sunfoil Dolphins.

Zybayr Hamza, the fourth-fastest South African to hit a double century in first-class cricket, will make his franchise-debut at age 20 against the Dolphins at Kingsmead in Durban as the visitors display their willingness to invest in emerging players in what is deemed to be a transitional phase for the Cobras.

Four Cobras-players are involved in the Masters Champions League, an international T20-tournament in Dubai. Three of them, Robin Peterson, Richard Levi and Justin Kemp, have been released to leave before the weekend.

That offers an opportunity to Hamza, Jason Smith and Matthew Kleinveldt, to show their mettle at franchise-level. All three have been prolific form this season. Hamsa has hammered 563 runs and Kleinveldt has compiled 511 for Western Province.

In his only other franchise-match, Kleinveldt struck 97 for the Cobras against the Dolphins on their home soil to propel them to a comprehensive win last season.

Smith is a batting all-rounder and a former South African u.19-player who has struck 494 runs and has nipped out 11 batsmen in six matches for the log-leaders, Western Province, in the Sunfoil Three-day Cup.

“This is a vital clash for us to say in touch with the log leaders, so it looms large as a must-win match,” said Paul Adams, the Cape Cobras coach.

Andrew Puttick, senior opening batsman of the Cape Cobras, is on paternity-leave. George Linde is still not at his best following rehabilitation from a finger injury.

The loss of Peterson to Dubai and Dane Piedt to the South African test team after his match-haul of 8-86 against the Warriors will test the Cobras’ strength in depth.

Their pipeline-strategies have been a hall-mark of their success the past decade thanks to astute leadership from André Odendaal and Nabeal Dien.

Adams is confident that the Cobras attack will perform as their bowlers have produced some sterling five-wicket hauls the past two games.

“A key for us again is to assemble a comprehensive first-innings total at Kingsmead,” he said.

The Cobras boast 32.78 points and are just slightly ahead of the Sunfoil Dolphins, who have 32.60 points. The Unlimited Titans, with 60.78, are currently at the top of the table.

The Cobras squad is: Omphile Ramela (captain), Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson, Dane Vilas, Jason Smith, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Lizaad Williams, Matthew Kleinveldt, Rory Kleinveldt, Simon Khomari, Tshepo Moreki, Zubayr Hamza.

 

 

THE Cape Cobras will be the first visitors to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead for a Sunfoil Series match this season as the Sunfoil Dolphins hosts look to find some form in Durban.

A history-making captain in the form of Khaya Zondo will serve as the big motivation for the home side – the middle-order batsman will become the first black African to ever captain them.

However, he will need the support of his top order if he wants to make a winning start. In the absence of regular captain Morne van Wyk through injury, the Dolphins’ batting has struggled.

Divan van Wyk was the stand-in skipper but failed to fire and has now been dropped. Sarel Erwee has instead been drafted into the squad.

“I’m certainly not happy with the way we’ve batted,” coach Lance Klusener said. “I don’t think we’ve been hard enough on ourselves when we’ve got in and that’s been a little frustrating.

“We haven’t scored enough runs in the first innings to get sufficient bonus points and that’s probably why we are fifth.”

The Dolphins, who lost to the Unlimited Titans by four wickets on the final day of their last game, have also brought in Mthokozisi Shezi from their opponents on a one-match loan deal.

On the other hand, the Cobras have been steadily improving. After back-to-back losses to start the campaign, they have drawn and won games, the most recent result being a 148-run thumping of the Warriors.

“It’s extremely important for us to keep building now,” coach Paul Adams said.

Andrew Puttick is on paternity leave while another key figure out is Robin Peterson.

But Matthew Kleinveldt, who has been outstanding for Western Province in the Sunfoil Cup, has been drafted into the senior side, along with Zubayr Hamza and Jason Smith.

“We’ve got some important players missing, but the young players have been performing well and it’s a chance for them to impress,” Adams added.

 

Justin Ontong the cavalier was the catalyst in setting up a 148-run win for the Cape Cobras against the Warriors to give their Sunfoil Series-campaign a much-needed lift at St. George Park in Port Elizabeth during the weekend.

Ontong slammed 98 off 189 balls in the first innings which gave the Cape Cobras a substantial first-innings cushion.

Rory Kleinveldt finished with a match-haul of 9-71 while the Cape Cobras off-spinner Dane Piedt nipped out 8-86 in the match.

Probed about his innings, Ontong said it was important to have a positive mind-set and attitude on a wicket which offered appreciable assistance to the spinners, while seam bowlers were also able to extract some movement off the seam from it.

“It was important to be positive on the wicket and to look to score, instead of being intent on survival.

“I also told Dane during our partnership to be positive and to utilize opportunities to score runs, instead of expecting to get out any minute,” Ontong said.

That positive energy and his aggressive innings had much to do with the Cobras’ transformation in Port Elizabeth.

Ontong was dismissed when he tried to dispatch a delivery to deep square leg, but played it a touch too fine and was caught at leg slip when on the brink of his 24th first-class century.

Virtually all the other players apart from Ontong, Colin Ackermann and Piedt struggled to adapt. The experienced former South African player negotiated everything the Warriors-bowlers threw at him because he was in a good headspace and played with aggressive intent.

Ontong’s form is one of the bonuses for the Cobras ahead of the Sunfoil Series clash against the Sunfoil Dolphins at Kinsgmead in Durban starting on Thursday 21st January.

 

 

Wayne Parnell’s name has already being pencilled in for the South Africa A team to play against England in a one-day match at the De Beers Oval in Kimberley on the 30th January despite the fact that he had not taken the field yet following his recovery from a foot injury.

But Shane Jabaar, the Cape Cobras- and former South African physio, said Parnell will do some bowling in the PPC Newlands nets on Monday 18th January and will train with the Cape Cobras on Tuesday 19th January.

The Cape Cobras management is eager to have Parnell, a South African swing bowler and useful lower middle-order batsman, back into their squad for the Sunfoil Series match against the Sunfoil Dolphins at Kingsmead starting on 21st January.

They might be left with a bit of a quandary as the current seam bowling attack has performed admirably.

Yet, Parnell has operated with superb pace and his strike-rate was also impressive during the first half of the season.

He has taken 10 scalps in four matches in the Momentum One Day Cup season for the Cape Cobras and was in the platinum-class in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge with bat and ball.

If he continues his splendid recovery, Parnell might be added to the current group of 13 for the crucial showdown at Kingsmead against the Dolphins.

 

Rory Kleinveldt turned back the clock when he produced a match-haul of 9-71 to propel the Cape Cobras to their first Sunfoil Series-victory of the 2015/2016-season against the Warriors at St. George Park in Port Elizabeth.

The 32-year old operated with the intensity and hunger of a 22-year old, and also displayed the skills that made him a South African player.

Asked about the key ingredients of the Cobras’ victory, Kleinveldt said the attack was superb in the two most recent Sunfoil series-matches. “The seam attack was so good against the (bizhub Highveld) Lions at Paarl, although they did not get many rewards.

“It was disappointing not to get over the line there,” he said. The match at Boland Park against the bizhub Highveld Lions finished in a stalemate with the visitors hanging on for dear life on 287 for nine (with an overall deficit of 31 runs).

But the Cobras shrugged off the Paarl-disappointment by coasting to a 148-run win in Port Elizabeth where Kleinveldt operated with pace and class.

“In the first innings in Port Elizabeth, the ball swung a bit for us, and in the second innings, we had to hit the pitch hard. I did move it off the seam both ways.”

Asked how his 5-30 in the second innings and 4-41 in the first rated in terms of his performances the past few seasons, Kleinveldt said it was right up there amongst his finest displays.

Kleinveldt made his test debut for South Africa in November 2012 against Australia, and played in four tests and 10 One Day Internationals.

He was still part of the national squad in the test series against Australia in 2014.

Kleinveldt captured 57 championship-wickets for Northamptonshire in the county-series last year.

He was full of praise for Dane Piedt, the South African off-spinner of the Cape Cobras, who impressed with bat and ball against the Warriors. Piedt slammed 62 with the bat in the first innings and finished with a match-haul of 8-86.

“He executed the skills that he has learned at the South African teams against the Warriors and underlined his international class,” said Kleinveldt.

“It is important for us to finish strong. We still have a long way to go. We have been rewarded this week for all the hard work we have put in in the game against the Lions at Paarl.

“That wicket offered our seam attack almost nothing, but the one in Port Elizabeth had a bit in it for the seam bowlers, and it was also overcast on day two,” said Kleinveldt.

 

RORY KLEINVELDT claimed five wickets to help the Cape Cobras end their winless start to the Sunfoil Series season with a comfortable 148-run victory over the Warriors on day three at St George’s Park on Saturday.

The fast bowler took five for 30, and a match haul of nine for 71, as the hosts were dismissed for 178 in pursuit of a 327 victory target in Port Elizabeth.

Colin Ackermann top-scored for Warriors with 82 off 140 deliveries, before he was last man out to Kleinveldt, who sent down 22.2 overs in the match.

Dane Piedt was the other chief wicket-taker on what proved to be the final day with an excellent four for 43, the exact same figures he produced first time around.

The day had begun with the visitors adding just 14 to their overnight total of 116 for the loss of their final three wickets. Justin Ontong, who made 98 in the first innings, again top-scored for his side with 28, while there were three wickets apiece for Basheer Walters (3-20), Andrew Birch (3-33) and Sisanda Magala (3-23).

The hosts found themselves in trouble early on with Somila Seyibokwe (eight) and David White (three) out with only 15 on the board, both bowled by Kleinveldt.

But apart from a third wicket stand of 69 between Yaseen Vallie (21) and Ackermann, they were never in the game and eventually succumbed in 51.5 overs.

It was their third loss in four games this season as they stayed rooted to the foot of the table.

The Cobras bagged their first win and took away 17.74 points while the Warriors took just three from the loss.

 

Michael Owen Smith