CAPE TOWN. –  A more explosive and belligerent approach to the problematic middle-overs is imperative if the Cape Cobras want to grab the semi-final life-line given to them by the match-winning exploits of the leg-spinner Eddie Leie, said Salieg Nackerdien, assistant coach of the Cape Cobras.

The Cobras, the defending champions in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, reached the play-offs against the Sunfoil Dolphins on Wednesday, courtesy of a magnificent 4-32 by the South African leg-spinner Leie, who ripped through the Warriors lower order by taking his four wickets after leaking 16 runs in his first over for the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

The bizhub Highveld Lions beat the Warriors by 21 runs to deny the Eastern Cape franchise a place in the semi-final play-offs. If the Warriors had won, they would have advanced to the semi-final. If they had beaten the hosts by a bonus point, they would have hosted the play-offs at St. George Park on Wednesday.

But they faltered with the bat after restricting the Lions to 127 for nine.

The Cobras had to rely on the Lions to do them some favours and the Highveld team responded thanks to the exploits of Leie, Dwaine Pretorius and their 150 km/h pace merchant Hardus Viljoen.

“We are two wins away from the title. We cannot dwell on the past. The team that pitches up playing with composure, will win it,” said Paul Adams, the overjoyed Cape Cobras coach.

“We need to play clever cricket with the experience we have got, be calm and put our hands up,” said Adams.

The Cobras won the Ram Slam T20 Challenge last season partially thanks to a magnificent all-round performance by Kieron Pollard, who averaged 81 with the bat and took 13 wickets in grand style.

He was ruled out of the remainder of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge due to a knee injury midway through this season’s T20-domestic showpiece.

“Hopefully Justin Kemp can recover from his illness and use his experience (as substitute for Pollard),” Adams said.

The big all-rounder Kemp could not represent the Cobras in the match against the Dolphins on Friday due to flue and he was still in bed on Sunday.

Nackerdien said the Cobras have not been smart enough in the middle periods and it has been a damning factor throughout their campaign, as they have batted at an average of five or six an over after bright starts, which is not sufficient to set a competitive target or chase down significant totals.

“When you have an aggressor and a partner who rotates the strike with him, you have to be smart. The accumulator must also bury the bad delivery while the aggressor must continue his adventurous approach. We have faded in the middle periods and we need to rectify this,” he added.

The Cobras have managed only four half-centuries throughout the campaign, which have compounded their efforts to reach the play-offs.

“But we have been handed a life-line and now we need to play that perfect game in the semi-finals,” said Nackerdien.

The Cobras players meeting on Monday at PPC Newlands will revolve extensively around their approach in the middle.

If they can rectify their poor batting after flying starts from Richard Levi and Wayne Parnell, they will be traveling to Centurion for the Ram Slam T20 Challenge on Saturday, and not the Dolphins.