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An unbeaten century by Zubayr Hamza helped the log-leading World Sports Betting Cape Cobras seize the advantage after two days of their decisive 4-day Domestic Series encounter against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

The right-hander, who made his Test debut for the Standard Bank Proteas against Pakistan earlier this month, was still batting on 104 (207 balls, 12 fours) and his side on 245 for three when bad light ended play early at the City Oval.

By that stage the visitors trailed by just 65 runs in what is their final match of the first-class season.

The Cape side held a lead of just over three points heading into the fixture and they are bidding to hold off the bizhub Highveld Lions, who are playing the Warriors in their last game.

And Ashwell Prince’s side enjoyed a perfect day two, which began brightly through a brilliant Vernon Philander burst that put them on the front foot right from the outset.

The South Africa seamer nabbed four wickets without conceding a run in 14 deliveries on the second morning as the hosts slipped from 293 for six overnight to 310 all out.

It gave him figures of four for 46 in 14.2 overs, with George Linde (4/62) also finishing with four wickets.

It was then over to the batsmen to fire, and led by Hamza, they did not disappoint.

Simon Khomari (14) put on 29 with the in-form Pieter Malan (44) for the first wicket, with the latter then adding 68 with the centurion for the second wicket.

A further 64 followed for the third wicket between David Bedingham (37) and Hamza, who went on to complete his 10th first-class century.

He was still there at the end sharing another useful stand of 84 unbroken with Kyle Verreynne (41 not out).

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, strengthened by the return of the world-class Vernon Philander and fellow Proteas bowler Dane Paterson, have their destiny in their hands and will leave no stone unturned to beat the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg and win the Four-Day Franchise series.

Those were the positive words from Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the visitors.

“We obviously know we have to go there and win the match. We have an advantage of three points, but will not be looking at the Lions/Warriors game for favours,” Davids added.

It is the last round of Four Day Franchise Series and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras have 171.46 points. They are at the summit, but the bizhub Highveld Lions are close enough to clinch it if they beat the Warriors and the Cobras falter. The Lions have 168.42 points. The last round starts on Monday.

Seam bowler Tladi Bokako is still recovering from an ankle injury and won’t be available for selection. Philander, a world-class campaigner, has been made available for the match by Cricket South Africa and Paterson has been released from the One Day International squad.

Both Davids and the skipper, Dane Piedt, have been impressed by the left-arm swing bowler and former South African U19 player Akhona Mnyaka who recently joined the Cobras ranks.

Speaking about the bowling attack, Davids said the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras have bowled fantastically well in partnerships and that is why the team have taken twenty wickets on seven occasions.

“The support bowling for Piedt in the match against the Multiply Titans, in which Piedt captured 13-141, was superb,” Davids said.

“We will have all the bases covered when we arrive in Pietermaritzburg – off-spin, left-arm swing, right-arm fast and left-arm spin,” Davids said.

The venue is one where bad light plays a role but the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras will be focusing on what they can control and play positively throughout.

Piedt said he would give the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras six out of ten for their performance in Oudtshoorn where they beat the Multiply Titans by eight wickets.

“We lost five wickets for 75 runs and we should have had a first innings lead of 200, not 100 runs. We should have won the match by an innings and 49 runs. The phrases that come to mind when I look forward to the match in Pietermaritzburg are ‘ruthless’ and ‘clinical’.

“That is what we need to be in order to clinch the trophy,” he said.

Pieter Malan, who has officially been handed the vice captaincy role in the team, had severe cramps after being the victim of a bug in the previous match, but he is fit for the match against the Dolphins.

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: Dane Piedt (c), Pieter Malan (vc), David Bedingham, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Mthiwekhaya Nabe, Dane Paterson, Vernon Philander, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne

One of the most attractive sights to behold in South African white-ball cricket is to admire the death bowling skills of Dane Paterson. In the Mzansi Super League (MSL) match between the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and the Paarl Rocks, he captured 2-26 and removed Rudi Second and Sisanda Migala with his main weapon, the Yorker.

The Giants had 140 for three after fifteen overs, and lost six wickets while adding only 28 runs in the final five overs. Paterson and David Wiese were the terminators.

Paterson, a stalwart of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, took 2-10 in his final two overs and hardly made a mistake as he consistently landed those Yorkers that made him one of the best exponents of that toe-crushing delivery in international white-ball cricket.

In that 15th match of the Mzansi Super League, Paterson denied the Giants probably 15 runs and the score was competitive rather than highly challenging.

For the record: the Giants beat the Paarl Rocks by 48 runs, a bonus point-win.

Vernon Philander contributed an attractive cameo of 18 in a dramatic chase to eclipse the 230 struck by the Jozi Stars on Friday 30th November. Philander represented the luckless Durban Heat, who assembled a valiant 177 but lost too many wickets up front when Kagiso Rabada’s triple strike had the Durban team in deep trouble on four for three.

Janneman Malan shared in an 83-run opening stand for the Cape Town Blitz with the centurion Quinton de Kock on Saturday 1st December. He contributed an attractive and composed 34 as the Blitz compiled 172 for nine against the Tshwane Spartans. Malan is the leading run-scorer of the Blitz with 236 runs at an average of 39.33.

Rory Kleinveldt took 1-29 in four overs for the Spartans against the Blitz. His wicket was the prized scalp of De Kock. The Big Show, as Kleinveldt is known, also took two sharp catches at slip off the spinners Sean Williams and Jeevan Mendis.

Vernon Philander produced a quick-fire 30 off 16 balls for the Durban Heat against the Paarl Rocks, who won by nine wickets with five balls to spare at Eurolux Boland Park on Sunday 2nd December.

An outstanding unbeaten century from Dane Vilas led a fine recovery from the Hollywoodbets Dolphins as they ended day one of their Sunfoil Series clash with the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras on 310 for eight at the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn on Monday.

The right-hander was unbeaten on 145 (177 balls, 18 fours, 1 six) at the close – his 14th first-class ton – having come in to bat with the visitors struggling.

Standard Bank Proteas seamer Vernon Philander marked his return from injury with three for 24 in 17 overs to end as the best of the bowlers.

But it was a day that belonged to Vilas, whose side had lost the toss and were asked to bat first.

They found themselves in plenty of early trouble at 11 for two and then 100 for four with the likes of Vaughn van Jaarseveld (35), Cody Chetty (43) and Khaya Zondo (41) failing to kick on after good starts.

That left Vilas to pick up the pieces and he responded with partnerships of 49 with Sibonelo Makhanya (10) for the sixth wicket and 68 with Prenelan Subrayen (19) for the eighth wicket to give his side the slight edge.

Apart from Philander’s return, Lizaad Williams (2/93) and Jason Smith (2/49) were the other main wicket-takers.