World Sports Betting Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince has lamented the pitch at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom, which created “an intriguing match,” between the Imperial Lions and World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, but ultimately was “under-prepared and not fit for first-class cricket.”

On a pitch which saw 28 out of the 40 wickets in the match go to the spinners, batting conditions were not conducive to big scores and the Imperial Lions target of 206 runs that they set the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras to win the match was challenging from the outset, with Prince’s men falling 11 runs short.

“Obviously batting last on a pitch that had been under-prepared was always going to be tough, so losing the toss was a big factor,” said Prince.

“Jason (Smith) batted really well in the first innings to hold things together, but unfortunately we couldn’t establish any partnerships,” he added.

“In the 2nd innings, we sat down and agreed that because the pitch was so bad, there was a real possibility of bowling them out for under 100 – they managed to get just over 100, which meant that we were still in the game. But in the end we fell just short.

“I thought we batted really well in trying to chase down the target, Kyle got a nice fifty, and everyone chipped in on a tough batting surface.

“It was very disappointing to have to play on a pitch like that in the first game of the season. I would have liked to have seen a representative from Cricket South Africa come and inspect the pitch after 39 wickets had fallen in 2 days.

“Although it created an intriguing match, in my opinion, it was not fit for first-class cricket. I would like to think that we care about the quality of cricket we play. I don’t want us to ever get to a stage in this country where it’s just a case of anything goes. I’m saying this now after the match, but I would have said exactly the same thing during it as well,” he concluded.

Prince did have some praise for the performance of Cobras spinner George Linde who took career-best match figures of 11/131 in the absence of Dane Piedt, who is currently in India with the Standard Bank Proteas.

“George bowled really well, but deep down he knows that he could have done better especially with controlling his run rate.”

Linde was undoubtedly satisfied with his performance with ball in hand, but rued missed chances in the first innings to dismiss the Lions for less runs than they managed to achieve.

“When I saw the wicket, I knew it was spin-friendly, but I knew that I would still have to work hard for my wickets. I knew though, that if I found a good rhythm, I could target a big match haul of wickets. Luckily I did take 11 wickets in the game, but I could have done better. There were a few overs I struggled for rhythm and consistency, but if you told me before the game that (11/131) will be my match figures, I would have taken it – I’m very pleased with myself for my best ever first-class figures. Now I just have to kick on and try and win games for the Cobras.”

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras head back to Gauteng for their next CSA 4 Day Domestic Series match against the Momentum Multiply Titans starting at Willowmoore Park, Benoni on Monday.