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Sisanda Magala’s outstanding death bowling played a key hand as the Warriors sealed a CSA T20 Challenge Final date with the bizhub Highveld Lions after beating the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras by 15 runs in their semi-final encounter in East London on Wednesday.

The seamer finished with two for 19 after the visitors appeared to have done enough to overhaul the hosts’ 172 for seven three-quarters of the way through the chase.

This after career-best efforts with both ball and bat by Rory Kleinveldt and David Bedingham, who took four for 33 and smashed 73 off 39 balls (7 fours, 4 sixes) respectively.

However, with just 51 needed off 43 balls and seven wickets still in hand, they lost their way horribly thanks to some tight bowling from Magala, aided by Lutho Sipamla (2/21) and Andrew Birch (2/37).

It meant the Eastern Cape franchise sealed a deserved place in what will be the final match of the franchise season against the Lions at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

However, the Cobras may rue a missed chance after they had their moments in an open game at Bufffalo Park.

The Cape side won the toss and opted to field first, but they were made to toil by another key performer for the Warriors – the rising young star Matthew Breetzke.

The former South Africa Under-19 opener struck 60 off 38 balls (3 fours, 4 sixes) and shared in a partnership of 69 with captain Jon-Jon Smuts (34) that laid the foundation for a competitive score.

That had left the home side on 90 for one at halfway, but Kleinveldt then pulled things backed brilliantly with his maiden four-for in his 163rd T20 game, which surpassed his previous best figures of three for 14 for Northampton against Warwickshire back in 2016.

Recently-capped Standard Bank Proteas wicketkeeper Sinethembe Qeshile did manage to get 35 off 21 late on to boost the total and set 173 for victory.

The Cobras made a flying start to their chase despite the early losses of key men like Janneman Malan (14) and JP Duminy (0) as Bedingham posted his best score in the format.

He took them to 112 for two in the 12th over – including smashing Smuts for four boundaries in a row – as the away side looked odds on for victory.

But Birch dismissed Bedingham and Smuts returned to send down a rare maiden in the 14th over as the pressure mounted.

Spinner Jade de Klerk (1/33) also finished his spell well with a wicket, before the pace bowlers turned the screw to squeeze out the Cobras and seal a famous win.

David Bedingham’s second franchise century upstaged a career-best 4-Day Domestic Series score by Keegan Petersen as the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras took control after two days of battle against the VKB Knights in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The visitors reached stumps on 249 for four at the halfway stage of the game, 70 runs behind the home sides’ 319 all out earlier in the day.

Rookie Bedingham, playing in his maiden four-day season, was not out on 107 (210 balls, 8 fours, 3 sixes), also his best score at this level.

Earlier, it was Petersen who continued his gutsy innings by moving from his overnight 126 to end on 161 (286 balls, 21 fours) at the Mangaung Oval.

It capped a remarkable recovery for the Central Franchise after they had slipped to three for three at the start of the match on day one.

They resumed day two on 241 for eight and added 78 for the final two wickets thanks to Petersen, Tshepo Ntuli (22) and Zakhele Qwabe (21).

The latter was run out, before Petersen was last man out to Mthiwekhaya Nabe (2/40), with Dane Paterson (3/69) finishing as the pick of the bowlers.

Similar to the Knights, the log-leading Cobras also made a poor start after Shadley van Schalkwyk’s (2/23) double left them on four for two.

Another strike by Thandolwethu Mnyaka (1/60) left them in further strife on 35 for three, but a fine 162-run fourth wicket stand between Bedingham and Kyle Verreynne, who made 89 (150 balls, 12 fours), wrestled control completely back in favour of the visiting side.

Even though the young wicketkeeper fell 11 shy of his century, Jason Smith (29 not out) helped share an unbroken 52-run fifth wicket stand that took the Cape side to the close in control.

A second pre-season century by David Bedingham and an attacking 91 by Zubayr Hamza were the standout performances of a two-day match involving the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and the Mpumalanga Titans in Johannesburg on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bedingham scored his runs quickly, retiring on 100 after hitting 15 fours and three sixes.

Hamza’s stylish 91 came off 133 balls, an indication of his attacking stroke play at number three.

Ashwell Prince, head coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, was pleased about the innings of the visitors, and especially the time in the middle.

Prince underlined that the match against Mpumalanga Titans was not franchise cricket and not even a first-class match, but the time spent in the middle was precious and good preparations for the opening match of the season against the VKB Knights starting on October 1 at PPC Newlands.

Bedingham’s century, along with his previous pre-season century in a pre-season match during the recent trip to Durban, where he struck 101, has demonstrated the top-order batting depth at coach Prince’s disposal this season.

On Wednesday, the Mpumalanga Titans scored 319 in 89.1 overs.

Spinners Dane Piedt and George Linde were the most successful bowlers. Piedt captured 3-27 in 19.1 overs, while Linde finished with 3-46 in 13 overs.

“I have been bowling well. I am in a good space. All I want to do is contribute at the end of the day,” Piedt said.

“George was a bit more consistent than he was in the past. He is reaping the rewards for the hard work in the off-season,” he added.

“Bedingham is a solid batter, and he hits the ball very cleanly. He is potential test quality but he needs to put in the hard work first,” Piedt said.

On Friday and Saturday the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras will play in an inter-squad match at Wits University.

Centurions Janneman Malan and David Bedingham and strike bowler Tladi Bokako performed brilliantly in their first pre-season outdoor excursion for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Durban on Monday and Tuesday.

Bokako captured 5-44 in eleven overs and in tandem with Lizaad Williams (3-26 in eleven overs) had the top-order in disarray and limited the Dolphins to 173.

Malan scored an unbeaten 151, while Bedingham struck 101 and Ferisco Adams blasted 50. The new acquisitions threw their hat into the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras ring and stated their case to the selection committee.

“The new recruits put up their hands, gave themselves a sense of belonging and will draw confidence from this performance,” said Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

“Janneman scored runs all around the wicket. He was strong on the on-side, handled the short ball well and also scored richly on the off-side. He is tailor-made for white-ball cricket, but look at his first-class record (1943 runs in 23 matches at an average of 55.51). He has a strike-rate of almost 70 (67.96),” Davids said.

Davids also said Bedingham had matured markedly from the last time he saw him. His game plans were clear and he struck the ball hard, the assistant coach added.

“Tladi and Lizaad were phenomenal and had them against the ropes on 20 for five. The wicket was a bit sticky with green patches and they kept the ball up to the bat. Tladi is a bundle of energy with good lines and lengths and he nipped it off the seam nicely. He is super fit.

“Lizzy was machine-like. He was steady and hit the seam regularly,” said Davids.

They restricted the Dolphins to 173 all out.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras batted at a rate of 4.3 per over and scored 362 for eight in 83.2 overs.

In the subsequent T20 match between KwaZulu-Natal and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, the latter scored 167 for eight thanks to a splendid 70 by Zubayr Hamza and 40 by Adams. The hosts were limited to 133 for six and the Cobras won by 34 runs.

Mthiwekhaya Nabe, who took 2-32 in the two-day game, captured 1-35 in four overs, but the pick was Williams, who nabbed 2-12 in three overs. Bokako ended with 1-22 in three overs. George Linde struck twice in his four overs which cost 26 runs.

It was the second outdoor training match of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and an encouraging early performance against a strong foe.