A superb collective effort with the ball which caused a dramatic Warriors collapse from 237 for five to 260, was one of the highlights of the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ performance in a rain-curtailed Sunfoil Series clash at Buffalo Park in East London during the weekend.

Dane Piedt, the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ skipper, refused in typical humble fashion to take full credit for the collapse, which saw the hosts lose their final five wickets for the addition of only 23 runs in 7.4 overs of Cobras’ induced venom.

He captured 4-64 in 15.4 overs, while the recently selected South African T20 International bowler, Dane Paterson, accounted for 3-60.

“I actually just bowled consistently in the same area, and the frustrated batsmen, who were restricted by the accurate seam bowling, attempted aggressive shots against me and lost their wickets.

“Enormous credit must go to our bowling attack.

“I think going forward our support cast is so important. Usually Paterson and Rory Kleinveldt or Wayne Parnell bowl very well up front. But our support bowling need to keep the run-rate down in order to exert pressure which will bring wickets.

“And the support bowling by Jason Smith and Tshepo Moreki has been splendid,” he added.

The match between the Warriors and the Buildnat Cape Cobras finished in a stale draw after the Cobras had reached 71 for three in their second innings, an overall lead of 102 runs.

But the whole third day was abandoned due to rain which ruined the match as a spectacle from a purely cricket point of view (the farmers and the citizens of East London would no doubt have been delighted about the rain).

Piedt pointed to the inability of the Buildnat Cape Cobras to convert useful scores into substantial centuries, as the one shortcoming in the first innings. Six batsmen scored between 29 and 85 and a realistic case could be made that at least two of those useful contributors should have reached three figures.

“Yes, if we converted those scores, we could have easily slammed 350 to 400. We should have done that,” he added.

“You know what you are going to get out of Andrew Puttick. He will give it his whole-hearted commitment.”

Piedt saluted Aviwe Mgijima, who has been a consistent performer for the Buildnat Cape Cobras this season. “You have to understand that he is batting at number seven with the so-called batting tail and it is not easy to get to three figures. You have to shepherd the tail and it is not without its challenges,” he said.

From a national point of view, the return to some form by Piedt should be applauded. It might have only been four wickets in the first innings, but when the off-spinner gets some of his wizardry back and bowls an attacking line just outside off-stump, he can cause havoc, like he did last season with 39 wickets, and in 2013/2014, when he removed 45 batsmen in the four-day domestic showpiece.

The unbelievable mental application and positive mind-set were at the heart of the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ sensational 6-wicket win as the hosts chased down 237 in 43.3 overs to romp to a six-wicket Sunfoil Series-win with two overs to spare against the bizhub Highveld Lions on Sunday, said an upbeat Ashwell Prince, coach of the Cobras.

The Cobras finished with 239 for four in 43.3 overs of magnificent, adventurous ball-striking.

Set a target of 237 in the second innings, the Cobras pummelled the visitors thanks to a 74-run opening partnership between Omphile Ramela and the centurion Wayne Parnell, who finished with 103 off 131 balls, and a 125-run stand for the second wicket with Stiaan van Zyl.

“I thought Wayne was unbelievable. He scored his runs all around the wicket. His straight hitting was superb and he was great against the spinners. When I came to him and asked him if he was prepared to do it, he responded very positively to it,” Prince said.

The coach was particularly proud of the way the Cobras showed their defiance.

“You must remember that the Cobras toiled for 164 overs in the sun in the Lions’ second innings on a wicket on which the bounce was true. Even when they dropped a few chances after the Lions were nine down, they refused to give up,” he added.

“Stiaan’s knock was unbelievable. He hit the ball a mile and struck it crisply. People label him a four-day player, but you should have seen him today (striking 64 off 65 deliveries),” he added.

“Omphile did a great job for us. Initially, he was the aggressor while Parnell was finding his feet. Omphile scored more than 100 runs in the match, which is every satisfying.”

The match will do much to restore the Cobras’ self-belief after they languished at the bottom of the Sunfoil Series log with three losses from five matches in the first half of the domestic four-day showpiece.

Ironically, the Cobras had the Lions in dire straits in the corresponding match at Boland Park last season, just to allow the visitors to escape because of some sloppy fielding lapses.

The Cobras were not to be denied in 2016/2017, and their win must rate as one of the finest four-day performances of the past two seasons on any domestic ground.

Prince was proud of his bowling attack. “Tshepo (Moreki) bowled a very aggressive spell on Saturday afternoon. He bounced and tried to unsettle the tail-enders. Although it did not yield a result, it was still a great effort,” he added.

The Cobras collected 17.46 points for their gigantic effort, while the Lions had to be content with four points.

The Buildnat Cape Cobras have the potential to beat every team in the country, but ultimately, names on paper won’t cut it. The mental attitude on the field, the appetite for a fight to rally when one is with their back against the wall, is the trait necessary for the Cape Town-based team to move up the log in the Sunfoil Series, said the newly appointed coach, Ashwell Prince.

The Cobras will host the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn starting on Thursday 5th January.

“The keys for us are simply improved performances. We have been sub-standard so far this season.

“What we need, is for players to perform up to the class they have displayed throughout their careers,” he added.

“Having the inner drive and the hunger to do well will be important for each player,” he added.

Prince said a lack of centuries was not the only weak spot in the Cobras’ armour during the first half of the competition. “We also did not bowl that well and have only taken one or two five-wicket hauls,” he added.

Prince said he only met with the team on Monday, but plans to have a sit-down session with each individual player in the squad over the course of the next two weeks about their own plans, dreams and potential.

The new coach underlines the importance of seeing the new picture. “If we win against the Lions this weekend, we are just a victory away from the team that is at the top of the log,” he said. “And if we can win another one, we are back in the competition,” he added.

The Cobras will be bolstered by the return of Wayne Parnell and Dane Piedt, two test players with the ability to win matches almost single handedly for them.

Parnell was part of the thirteen-man Standard Bank Proteas’ squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka.
Piedt captured 39 wickets last season at an average of 22.33.

Parnell nipped out 7-51 in a match at PPC Newlands against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins.

Watch out for the left-arm swing bowler to repeat these performances and to challenge the Lions’ top-order during the weekend.

Prince, though, warned against the Cobras relying too much on the names on the paper. “It is about more. It is about our appetite for wins. It is about the mood, the hunger and the mental approach on the field,” he added.