CAPE TOWN. – The rejuvenated Cape Cobras know an improved bowling performance will be pivotal in their Ram Slam T20 Challenge clash against the table-topping Sunfoil Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
Justin Ontong, the Cape Cobras skipper, admitted the fast bowlers did not hit their straps straight away in Wednesday’s pulsating T20-match against the VKB Knights. Reeza Hendricks got off to a flyer.
“We know we have to improve with the new ball. We will be up against a dangerous top-order,” said Ontong.
The Dolphins middle-order recently imploded against The Unlimited Titans when the off-spinner Henry Davids captured three wickets in eight balls.
Ontong is aware of the importance of good off-spin bowling to challenge the middle-order batsman David Miller and his left-handed colleague Vaughn van Jaarsveld.
“SA Engelbrecht and I will have to be accurate. Recently, when I bowled against Qaasim Adams, I thought I had the beating of him, but the ball still travelled (off the outside half of the bat) over the boundary at SuperSport Park,” he added.
The dry conditions at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday could offer ample opportunities to the spinners of the Cape Cobras, and their self-belief would have been bolstered by the excellent four for 21 by the left-arm spinner GF Linde against the VKB Knights.
Ontong said the Cape Cobras have discussed strike-rates extensively. In T20-cricket, openers have to bat at a strike-rate of 125 to 130. And if the middle-order batsmen are chasing a sizeable target, a strike-rate of 150 to 180 might be required. “We have spoken about greater urgency being required. You cannot bat at a run a ball in T20-cricket,” Ontong said.
The Cobras achieved their arm of batting at beyond a strike-rate of 100 in splendid fashion on Wednesday when they chased down 174. The middle-order rallied with SA Engelbrecht, Rory Kleinveldt, Ontong and Lesiba Ngoepe all clearing the boundary ropes to power the Cape Cobras to 176 for six with one over to spare.
“We know other teams have targeted Richard Levi. It was very satisfying that we reached the target on Wednesday after he had been dismissed cheaply. But hopefully Richard will get us off to a flyer on Sunday,” he added.
The left arm swing bowler Wayne Parnell’s hand injury is still a concern and his two injured fingers are feeling tender. “It takes time to heal, but we trust that it will clear up over the next two days,” Ontong added.