A technical adjustment in the off-season aided Andrew Puttick as the World Sports Betting (WSB) Cape Cobras opener struck a superb century in the two-day warm-up game against the Warriors in Oudtshoorn.

The WSB Cape Cobras skipper, Dane Piedt, led the way as they routed the visitors for 221 in their first innings. The experienced slow bowler nipped out 4-24 in ten overs of attacking off-spin, using a fourth-stump off-side line and letting it rip.

In response, Puttick hammered 100 off 170 balls with 12 fours and a six and shared in a 170-run opening partnership with Pieter Malan, who belted 72 off 149 balls. They set up a superb 354 for seven in the first innings.

The Warriors managed 96 for two in the second innings and the valuable warm-up match ended in a stalemate.

“In the off-season, Ashwell and I worked on my set-up and my alignment, and it worked as it transitioned into my batting very positively,” said Puttick.

“What I also liked, was that it was my first outdoor action since the winter.”

Prince said Puttick scored all around the ground, handled the short balls with aplomb and got himself into strong positions. “He moved forward beautifully and it will give him that feel-good factor before the season starts.

“Pieter (Malan) is an absolute machine. He is fit and strong,” Prince added.

Jason Smith also showed his fluency while compiling 55, said the coach.

Piedt was the leading wicket-taker for South Africa A against India A with nine scalps in the off-season.

Prince said Piedt and Dane Paterson bowled with good rhythm, a testimony to the fact that they have seen some outdoor action.

Piedt did not take his four wickets because the Warriors attempted to slog and holed out to the inner ring, explained Prince.

It was the result of attacking bowling, which saw him beat the bat with excellent deliveries. He removed one of the Warriors’ top batsmen, Jon-Jon Smuts on his way to 4-24.

Vernon Philander, who has captured 171 wickets in 46 tests for South Africa, is still not 100% match fit and the WSB Cape Cobras did not select him for the first warm-up games.

He won’t be ready for the second clash starting on Tuesday 12th September at the Recreation Oval in Oudtshoorn either.

The WSB Cape Cobras’ first Sunfoil Series match of the season commences on 19th September at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein against the VKB Knights.

South Africa will clash with the Bangladesh Tigers in a two-match test-series starting on 28th September.

Take the game by the scruff of the neck and take responsibility by bowling the winning spell or by scoring the winning runs, would be the message of the new Buildnat Cape Cobras skipper, Andrew Puttick, to his team members when the hosts clash with the VKB Knights in the Cobras’ penultimate match of the Momentum One Day Cup series at PPC Newlands on Sunday. The match starts at 10:00.

Puttick said his approach would be to have a calming influence on his team and to be a thoughtful leader who inspires team-mates by performing from the front, where he and possibly Richard Levi might be involved in a match-winning partnership for the first wicket.

Levi is struggling with a groin injury, while Lizaad Williams’s participation is not secured yet, also due to injury. Both Levi and Williams will have to pass fitness tests if they are to be cleared to play against a team that is one of the strongest on paper in the competition.

The Cobras field a superb team as well and there are a number of all-rounders who can produce the goods with either bat or ball.

Dayyaan Galiem, GF Linde and Rory Kleinveldt fall in that category.

Galiem is a swing bowler and a hard-hitting middle order batsman, while Linde is a left-arm spinner but can also produce lusty blows with the blade to get his team over the line.

Kleinveldt can hit boundaries to all part of the ground and has improved his ability to read the match situation and to react appropriately by taking his time to settle and then to blast all-comers to different parts of the ground. As a bowler he is of the hit-the-deck-hard variety, and he can move it both ways off the seam with the new ball.

Arguably Puttick’s most important call would be before the match starts. If he wins the toss, Cobras fans can expect the left-handed opener to send his troops in to face the chin music first.

The Multiply Titans scored 400 for five after winning the toss and batting first. The Warriors smashed 305 for six, also after winning the toss and inserting themselves in recent matches at PPC Newlands.

The Cobras are aware of the importance of starting splendidly and doing the basics close to 100%. The hosts have let themselves and their supporters down occasionally with mediocre fielding and bowling which was not consistent enough in keeping the run-rate down to below 4.5 per over.

Dane Paterson will have an important role to play in the death overs.

Puttick and Dane Vilas will be vital players for the Cobras in the top order, while the consistent lower order performers Aviwe Mgijima and Kleinveldt should do the same with number seven to number eleven, shepherding the batting tail with excellent performances.

The Buildnat Cape Cobras squad is: Andrea Aqathangelou, Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Eddie Leie, Richard Levi, George Linde, Rory Kleinveldt, Aviwe Mgijima, Justin Ontong, Dane Paterson, Andrew Puttick (captain), Zakhele Qwabe, Dane Vilas, Lizaad Williams

Commendable focus and intensity contributed richly to the resurrection of the Buildnat Cape Cobras, who finished third on the Sunfoil Series log with 94.76 points and won three of their final five matches in the 2016/2017-competition.

They were also denied a possible win against the Warriors at Buffalo Park when the elements thwarted their pursuit of an extra ten points.

Ashwell Prince, the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ coach, saluted the back-to-back centuries by Stiaan van Zyl, who slammed 108 and an unbeaten 101 in the final Sunfoil Series match of the season against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Kingsmead. The clash ended in a stalemate as the Cobras struck 291 for seven.

“We tried to secure five bonus points with the bat and four with the ball to ensure that the VKB Knights and the Multiply Titans had to win their matches to prevent us from clinching the title. When the Knights secured the Sunfoil Series title on Saturday, it was all over for us. The wicket was just too placid and my bowling attack had gone through a lot the last few weeks,” said Prince.

Prince did not mince his words about the wicket. “It was a slightly disappointing track. I thought it could have been more of a result-wicket,” he added.

The former South Africa batsman had high praise for Van Zyl. “It is an enormous pity that Stiaan would be remembered for his failure as a South African opener in India, where, frankly, all the other South African batsmen and the Indian stars also did not score runs.

“I would rather remember him for the century he scored on debut for South Africa,” he said.

“I played 66 tests for South Africa, and I would have rather paid money to see Stiaan bat than to see myself bat.

“I believe he and Andrew Puttick have the credentials to play international cricket, not for South Africa, but anywhere in the world.

“In fact, guys like Andrew, Stiaan and Justin Ontong can play for the Buildnat Cape Cobras as long as they have the hunger and the will to perform. They are that good,” he said.

Puttick struck a 26th first-class ton, a solid 116 in the final match of the season and added 55 in the second innings.

Prince said Jason Smith is a genuine all-rounder who can swing the ball both ways and also play the holding role.

“You don’t need to bowl 150 km/h to be effective. Look at Vernon Philander. But it is not that I compare Jason with Vernon. It is just that Jason is really a very skilled bowler,” he added.

“Aviwe Mgijima performed very, very well for us, by scoring five fifties in the season. And we must remember that he batted at number seven. Mostly, you bat with the number six and you have to shepherd the tail.

“He has established himself very well in the team,” he added.

Prince said the main reason why the Cobras transformed the season from a bottom-of-the-log position to third on the log, was that they secured better focus on and off the field.

During training, he also asked the players to give 100% and to focus on batting for those 45 minutes as if they are emulating a match situation.

That intense focus in the training to emulate the match situation, was an important factor.

“One thing I was proud of, was that the players left everything out on the field.

“I have told the team that what separated them from international players is not skill or ability, but confidence.

“Somebody like a Puttick and a Van Zyl can do what international players can achieve,” he added.

Another positive factor of the Cobras revival which contributed to wins against the VKG Knights and the Multiply Titans, was the superb bowling by the support staff.

When Rory Kleinveldt did not take 5-45, it was Dane Piedt who captured 6-87 or the new kid on the block, Kyle Simmonds. And don’t forget about the aggressive spell by Dane Paterson at Paarl when he took 3-39 to restrict the Knights to 153, a solitary first-innings run lead against the Buildnat Cape Cobras.

Piedt finished the campaign with 28 wickets, Paterson nipped out 23 batsmen and Smith captured 20 scalps.

Ontong, with 595 runs at an average of 53.90, was a standout-batsman, while Van Zyl finished with 709 runs at an average of 47.26 which included three centuries to finish the campaign as the top run scorer for the Cobras.

Puttick struck 477 runs and blasted two tons.

The Cobras will start the Momentum One Day Cup competition with some confidence, and will be bolstered by the return of Richard Levi.

Van Zyl and Ontong have shown with their recent form that they are attacking one-day options and can easily bat at a strike-rate of 90 or more.

Sisanda Magala and Basheer Walters shared six wickets as the opening day of the Sunfoil Series Cape derby ended evenly poised between the Warriors and BuildNat Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park in East London on Thursday.

The pair took 6/113 between them as the visitors were bowled out for 291, before they then reduced their hosts to 5/1 by the close.

Fast bowler Walters took 3/42 and fellow seamer Magala managed 3/71 after the home side had won the toss and opted to bowl first on day one.

There were a number of starts for the resurgent Cobras, who appear to be improving all the time under new coach Ashwell Prince, with veteran Andrew Puttick top scoring with 85 (186 balls, 13 fours) – his 44th career 50.

Aviwe Mgijima also played a central role with his 51 (92 balls, 5 fours, 1 six), the 10th half-century of his career, while there were starts for Stiaan van Zyl (38), Jason Smith (29) and Rory Kleinveldt (31).

It meant the Cobras fell just short of 300, but they then removed one of the openers when Dane Paterson (1/0) had Gionne Koopman caught behind by Dane Vilas for 5 – the Warriors ending the day trailing by 286.