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

SIMON HARMER claimed four of the five wickets to fall as the Warriors and Cape Cobras ended day one of their Sunfoil Series clash with honours even at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

The off-break bowler bagged four for 42 in an excellent 25 overs to help restrict the visitors to 224 for five on a day when around an hour of play was lost due to afternoon rain. But they did resume afterwards until bad light intervened after 81.2 overs were bowled.

The Cobras were held together by an unbeaten 90 from veteran batsman Justin Ontong, who faced 170 deliveries and struck 10 fours and a six.

That after his captain, Omphile Ramela, had won the toss and chose to bat first, a decision that may have been questioned when they fell to 45 for two following the losses of Simon Khomari (eight) and Andrew Puttick (33).

But Ontong shared a 69-run stand with Ramela, who made 32, with the hosts continuing to chip away.

Sisanda Magala took the only other wicket to fall on day one for figures of one for 40.

 

Michael Owen Smith

The Cape Cobras would have good reason be slightly deflated after the close encounter against the bizhub Highveld Lions and the Great Escape by the visitors at Boland Park in Paarl.

The Cobras required one wicket to win it, but the Lions hung on on 287 for nine in their follow-on innings, still 31 wins from preventing an innings victory.

The Cobras dropped at least two chances in the afternoon session which proved costly in the end, but the manner in which they outplayed the defending Sunfoil Series champion and the excellent performances by the top-order and the attack as a unit would have given them reason to believe they can produce a victory at St. George Park in the four-day encounter starting on Thursday.

Now the Cobras will embark on Mission St. George Park, 14-17 January, where they have unfinished business in the Sunfoil Series. In the 2014/2015-season, the Cobras finished 15 runs short of what would have been an epic win, but was pipped at the post.

“We expect the wicket in Port Elizabeth to be similar to the one in Paarl, but just a bit faster,” said Paul Adams, the Cape Cobras coach.

He said the Cobras ticked all the right boxes in their match against the Lions in Paarl. They spoke all week in the build-up to the match against the Lions about establishing a substantial first-innings total, and did that in style.

JP Duminy and Dane Vilas slammed 393 runs for the fifth wicket with career-best contributions by both batsmen.

Adams said the seam bowlers controlled the tempo of the game, and he was up-beat about their contributions.

The spinners, and specifically Robin Peterson, were sensational in Paarl. Peterson nipped out 9-150, which included 5-62 in 33 overs in the first innings.

Peterson and Lizaad Williams engineered a dramatic collapse as the Lions imploded from 235 for two to 252 in their first innings.

“We did let things slip in Paarl by dropping catches, which was unfortunate,” said Adams.

Adams and Omphile Ramela, the skipper, will demand greater accuracy in the field by the visitors, as a cohesive effort at the right intensity might just assist the Cobras in scoring their first Sunfoil Series-win of the season.

The Cobras squad is: Omphile Ramela (capt), Richard Levi, Simon Khomari, Keegan Petersen, Andrew Puttick, Lizaad Williams, Tshepo Moreki, Dane Vilas, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Dane Paterson, Rory Kleinveldt.

 

THE Cape Cobras did everything right in their last Sunfoil Series outing against the bizhub Highveld Lions over the weekend.

They made runs, they took wickets and they had their opponents on the ropes for most of the final day. But they lacked the knockout blow in Paarl, one that would have given them a first win of the competition this season.

Instead they had to settle for an exasperating draw, which did snap a two-game losing streak, and they will be looking to build on that when they travel to St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth to face the Warriors in a bottom-of-the-table clash starting on Thursday.

They have had plenty of things to work on since Sunday, according to coach Paul Adams. “We had to work very hard during that game,” he says. “The bowlers were quite short and it’s something we’ve had to work on afterwards.

“For us it’s mainly been about recovering since then. We know we’re on the right track and it’s about following those same processes going forward, making sure we’re fresh and ready come Thursday.”

Adams feels there are many positives to take away from the result and hopes they can build on them in the Eastern Cape. “A draw in the game was as good as a loss, we get the same amount of points,” he added. “It’s important for me that we can pick it up from here and continue with that momentum.”

Richard Levi is fit again after a foot injury and is expected to come into the middle-order for JP Duminy, who marked his return to form with an outstanding 260 not out at Boland Park.

While the Cobras were left frustrated by the Lions’ tail – they were one wicket away from victory – their opponents, the Warriors, were thwarted by the rain.

But just like their opponents, their washout against the Sunfoil Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg, ended a two-game losing streak start to the competition. “It was frustrating what happened, but at least our bowlers got some rest and we hope that will assist us going into this game,” coach Malibongwe Maketa stated.

Seamers Basheer Walters and Sisanda Magala are both carrying niggles and face late fitness tests.

Maketa is expecting a tough assignment against their Cape rivals, adding: “It’s always a good challenge against the Cobras, who are a very good side. Having come so close to a victory in that game last week, they’ll be determined to set the record straight.”

CAPE TOWN. – South African audiences have come to know and love The Bear as an opener, whose leg-side exploits have left bowling attacks bewildered and spectators awe-struck by his short-arm jabs.

The most recent exhibition of his raw power came in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge semi-final play-off when he hammered 85 off 43 balls for the Cape Cobras with six fours and seven sixes.

And who would forget that 117 off 51 balls with 13 sixes for South Africa against New Zealand at Hamilton in 2012?

But why would the Cape Cobras want to pencil him in at number five for the Sunfoil Series match against the Warriors when he has scored the most runs domestically at the top of the order in the domestic T20-competition (last season)? He can also take the game away from you in the blink of an eye-lid.

But Richard Levi, affectionately nicknamed The Bear, argues the move down the order worked a treat in England, why not in South Africa.

“I played at the top of the order, and then dislocated a finger. Upon my return, I was slotted in the middle-order because the guy who replaced me had done well. I scored 168 in the middle-order in my first game.

“They want to give the player at the top (Simon Khomari) a decent run, so I’m happy to bat in the middle-order. In four-day cricket you have some time to establish yourself, and then cash in when bowlers return for the third and fourth spells,” Levi said.

Levi assembled 663 runs at an average of 44.20 for Northamptonshire in the 2015-season.

“I nursed an ankle injury, and now I’m returning following the Ram Slam, and I am moved down, so it is similar to what happened in England,” he said.

Omar Henry, chairman of selectors of the Cape Cobras, said the decision to move Levi down the order was motivated by his success in England.

“We also trust that he can play a role in the middle-order with the arrival of the second new ball,” he added.

Levi will replace JP Duminy for the match at St. George Park in Port Elizabeth against the Warriors, as Duminy forms part of the South African test squad at the Bidvest Wanderers.

Duminy struck a career-best 260 off 409 balls in his previous match for the Cape Cobras.

The Cobras-squad is: Omphile Ramela (capt), Simon Khomari, Andrew Puttick, Keegan Petersen, Justin Ontong, Lizaad Williams, Rory Kleinveldt, Robin Peterson, Richard Levi, Dane Paterson, Dane Vilas, Tshepo Moreki.

CAPE TOWN. – Tshepo Moreki has shown encouraging signs of becoming a foil to the new-ball bowlers, Dane Paterson and Rory Kleinveldt, in the Cape Cobras team. Perhaps his superb 3-45 in the follow-on innings against the bizhub Highveld Lions would not have been possible without the intervention of Charl Langeveldt, the South African bowling coach, while he was at the national academy.

Moreki was a constant threat against the Lions, and apart from his 3-45 at Boland Park in Paarl, he also created a chance for a catch in the field which was not taken when Dwaine Pretorius nicked it to slip when on 21.

Eddie Leie and Aaron Phangiso’s successful impersonation of Harry Houdini meant that they escaped unscathed from the iron grip in which the Cape Cobras had them in their follow-on innings.

But Moreki was constantly in their faces and advanced handsomely since joining the Cape Cobras from the Dolphins.

He said when he was at the national academy, Langeveldt pointed out that he had a bad wrist position. When he corrected that, Moreki was able not only to bowl the out-swinger, but also the occasional in-swinger, which made him much more of a threat.

In the emerging tour of Sri Lanka subsequently, he finished at the summit of the four-day averages with 12 wickets at an average of 12.25, and also nipped out 11 wickets in three one-day games with a best of 5-19. He was comfortably the national academy’s best bowler.

Asked about the way ahead, Moreki said his focus is not on bowling faster. He said Vernon Philander has shown that you don’t need to bowl at 150 km/h to take wickets, but you require consistency and you need to build pressure consistently.

He would like to take the new ball one day.

He has learned from other senior bowlers. In this respect, Kleinveldt has been a constant source of wisdom on the right game-plans for success.

 

 

CAPE TOWN. – His legs were tired on Monday, but the South African left-arm spinner Robin Peterson was semi-pleased about his superb match-haul of 9-150 for the Cape Cobras against the bizhub Highveld Lions in their Sunfoil Series match at Boland Park in Paarl.

If Rory Kleinveldt had hung on to a catch in the final over on Sunday bowled by Peterson (off the edge of Eddie Leie’s bat) at second slip, the Cobras might have sneaked a win.

Peterson, though, said he is confident the Cobras can fight back and fashion a series of wins to get to the summit of the Sunfoil Series.

“When I first came to the Cape, we won six or seven matches in a row to claim the four-day title. It can happen again.

“We just need one or two wins and we will be back at the top.

“Just remember that the VKB Knights beat The Unlimited Titans, so that has brought the Titans back to the rest of the chasing pack,” he added.

Peterson said a key to his 9-wicket haul was the fact that he mixed up his pace. He bowled some deliveries at a pace of over 90 kilometres per hour and some in the late 70 km per hour category.

He also used a so-called back-spinner or doosrah that turned the other way. It did not get him any wickets, but it kept the batsmen honest, said Peterson.

The Cobras scored 570 for four in their first innings, and the Lions slumped to 252 all out. In their follow-on, they moved to 287 for nine, with another 31 runs needed to erase the deficit.

However, if the Cobras had held on to some catches that were spilled, things could have turned out differently.

Peterson said he was impressed by the bowling changes made by the captain, Omphile Ramela.

Ramela replaced Peterson with Justin Ontong before lunch and the off-spinner took two wickets in two overs to reduce the visitors to 143 for five at lunch.

After tea, things started happening again and the Cobras took four wickets on Sunday to take the Lions to the brink.

CAPE TOWN. – The ultimate prize, a Sunfoil Series win, evaded the Cape Cobras, but the clash against the defending champions, the bizhub Highveld Lions, will always be remembered for the South African domestic record that was smashed by JP Duminy and Dane Vilas at Boland Park in Paarl the past weekend.

The two added 393 in 371 minutes of magnificent batting as they eclipsed the previous South African fifth-wicket record of 385, held by the Australians Greg Blewett and Steve Waugh at the Wanderers.

Vilas was disappointed that the Lions managed to escape with a draw at Boland Park.

He said it was expected that the bowlers and fielders would have been tired after spending more than two and a half days and 240 overs in the field.

“Perhaps if could have hung on to a few chances in the field and displayed a bit more intensity with the ball, it could have been different,” he said.

One of those dropped chances came when Dwaine Pretorius was given a reprieve when Andrew Puttick spilled him with his score on 21. Pretorius went on to score 101 in the follow-on innings.

Puttick, though, took some pretty smart chances throughout the game.

The Cobras just could not land the knock-out blow, as Eddie Leie and Aaron Phangiso survived for 14.2 overs to secure a stale-mate in the follow-on innings on Sunday.

The Cobras slammed 570 for four (declared) in their first innings and dismissed the visitors for 252 in their first innings, courtesy of 5-62 from Robin Peterson and 3-35 by Lizaad Williams. In the follow-on innings, the Lions hung on grimly to reach 287 for nine.

Asked about the partnership with Duminy, Vilas said the left-right combination and the fact that they complimented each other so well, contributed to their success.

Both ran splendidly between the wickets, manipulated the ball well through the inner ring, and did not allow the two spinners, Phangiso and Leie, to settle at all.

Both recorded career-best performances. Vilas slammed 216 off 250 balls with 20 fours and three sixes.

Duminy produced 260 off 409 balls with 23 fours and two sixes.

“The previous occasion when JP batted at Paarl he also struck a double century. He works the ball so well. It was one of the best batting performances I ever saw from him,” said Vilas.

Vilas, who completed his 11th first-class century, said he has regained his batting confidence after almost all the South African batsmen struggled on the subcontinent wickets.

“I obviously want to do well for the Cape Cobras, as we were disappointed with our batting performances before this game, and I also want to put pressure from a national perspective,” Vilas said.

The 30-year old South African wicket-keeper is next in line after Quinton de Kock. He has definitely thrown down the gauntlet to the young left-hander from The Unlimited Titans.

He has also given the national selectors a reminder of his prowess and skills.

Duminy has done the same. The South African middle-order batsman is still an automatic choice for the SA One Day International team and the T20-squad, but will be determined to prove his detractors wrong and regain his place in the test team.

“Turn up the heat and knock them out,” seems like a phrase uttered by the outspoken new heavyweight-champion of the World Boxing Association and the World Boxing Organization, Tyson Fury.

But those words were not used by the motor mouth Fury after his recent win against Vladimir Klitschko.

Rather, it is the soft-spoken Cape Cobras captain, Omphile Ramela, who has elaborated about the tactics needed to inspire the team to a win against the bizhub Highveld Lions in their Sunfoil Series clash at Boland Park in Paarl (starting on Thursday, 7th January).

Ramela said the Cobras’ intensity levels have been below what is required to win games and they needed to increase that (turn up the heat).

“I think we have let ourselves down. We have been short of runs.

“The top-six we have selected can comfortably compile centuries required to assemble a big score,” Ramela said about the inclusion of Andrew Puttick, Simon Khomari, JP Duminy, Dane Vilas and Justin Ontong with Ramela pencilled in at number three.

“We pride ourselves in our performances. What is practically required, is quality runs at a decent pace, and being an aggressive side that can knock sides out,” he added.

Ramela is confident the Cape Cobras do possess the fire-power to take 20 wickets and deliver a knockout-punch. Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams, Rory Kleinveldt, Tshepo Moreki, Robin Peterson and JP Duminy form a well-balanced team, he said and therefore they can achieve their first objective to kick-start their four-day campaign in 2016 in the appropriate manner.

Ramela acknowledged that Hardus Viljoen possess a threat in the four-day encounter starting on Thursday at Boland Park in Paarl.

“Yes, he has taken 20 wickets in two matches, and he will be a challenge for us, but he is also a national contender and will feel the pressure,” Ramela said.

Kleinveldt has been in decent form, but has not been at his destructive best so far. The big fast bowler possesses the skills and variety to turn up the heat on the Lions at Paarl this weekend and deliver the knock-out blow, just as his captain has required him to do.

 

CAPE TOWN. – JP Duminy has been released by Cricket South Africa to represent the Cape Cobras against the bizhub Highveld Lions, but neither Vernon Philander nor Dale Steyn have been cleared to spearhead the Cape-champions at Boland Park in Paarl for the next domestic four-day clash starting on 7 January 2016.

In fact, Philander, who is nursing a troublesome ankle injury (which he sustained in a soccer warm-up match in India), has been ruled out of the third test, said Lerato Malekutu, communications officer of Cricket South Africa.

Philander and Steyn were sorely missed at PPC Newlands in the second test, as these two fast bowlers collectively captured 96 wickets at the iconic ground.

“Dale and Vernon are not match-ready yet,” Malekutu said. “Dale is improving daily and it is too early to say about (his availability for the third test). Vernon won’t be ready for the third test against England.”

It is a massive setback, as Philander can be devastating with the new ball on most grounds, especially if there is some humidity in the wicket early on. His nine five-wicket hauls are a testimony to his new-ball skills.

Paul Adams, the Cape Cobras coach, said he has not seen Philander bowl at all at the nets of PPC Newlands.

Talking about the Cobras, the domestic four-day champions in two of the past three seasons, Adams said the top-order will have to fire in the first innings.

He will have a meeting with Duminy to discuss the task at hand as the Cobras endeavour to kick-off the New Year in style with a win against a team who has been their Nemesis last season.

The Lions’ fast bowlers, with Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada at the helm, ran through the top- and middle-order and had them in disarray on 23 for four in the second innings to set up a win at PPC Newlands last season.

“This season, Hardus Viljoen has taken 20 wickets in two games and he will be a threat to our top-order,” said Adams.

The Cobras have selected a much more balanced unit for the match against the Lions at Paarl, as they will include Robin Peterson at number seven and Rory Kleinveldt at number eight. These are two players who have scored first-class centuries and are also able to run through a top- or middle-order with ease.

But the Achilles Heel has been the inconsistent top- and middle-order, who imploded badly in the matches against the VKB Knights and The Unlimited Titans, scoring just 146 and 106 respectively in the first innings.

The rehabilitation of Wayne Parnell (heel injury) and Richard Levi (ankle) have not been concluded and they were not considered for the Paarl-clash, Adams said.

The Cape Cobras squad is: Omphile Ramela (capt), Simon Khomari, Andrew Puttick, JP Duminy, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Dane Vilas, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Lizaad Williams, Tshepo Moreki, Dane Paterson.