CAPE TOWN. – “We will remain positive and are committed to bounce back with a bang in the Sunfoil Series,” said a dejected Justin Ontong, captain of the Cape Cobras, after their painful 5-run loss in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge semif-final play-offs against the Sunfoil Dolphins.

“We threw it away. We should have won it,” he said about the defeat.

Ontong added that in their semi-final play-off run-chase, they were on course with a run a ball needed in the final four overs. “Instead of scoring singles and rotating the strike, we attempted the big shots and paid dearly for it. We lost our heads.

“We were our own worst enemies in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge semi-finals,” he added.

Albie Morkel, The Unlimited Titans captain, confirmed the sentiments expressed by Ontong. He said he felt for 80 % of the match that the visitors would be victorious. He said the Cobras might have erred on a very slow wicket by attempting the big shots at the business-end of the innings instead of simply taking singles or twos.

In the match at Kingsmead between the Dolphins and the Titans, the hosts attempted the same approach in their innings and lost quick wickets on a very slow pitch, Morkel explained.

Ontong admitted that the middle-order struggled throughout the campaign despite excellent starts provided by Richard Levi and Wayne Parnell for the Cape Cobras.

Although Ontong did not mention any names in talking about the middle-order, it was clear that the form of SA Engelbrecht, Ontong and Omphile Ramela deserted them at stages during the campaign, while Andrew Puttick, Robin Peterson and Rory Kleinveldt also failed to finish the Ram Slam T20 Challenge with a flourish on Wednesday.

“As middle-order we got stuck in a rut and put the team under pressure. It simply was not good enough as we could not bat at a higher strike-rate than 100,” he added.

“We also did not rally together as a team enough. When we won, it was through individual brilliance, and not through a team effort.

“Wayne did not only produce the goods for the team, but from an individual perspective, he showed that he has the ability to be a Protea player again,” he added.

“I think Omphile Ramela will bring new and fresh energy to the team as captain of the Sunfoil Series squad.

“We pride ourselves in our four-day campaign and want to bounce back. In February 2014, we narrowly loss to the Dolphins in the Ram Slam final, but we rallied and won the domestic four-day showpiece.

“Having said that, the loss still hurts deeply, because it was such a close encounter,” he said. “I would rather lose by 60 runs than by 5,” Ontong added.

The Cape Cobras’ ranks have been bolstered by the return of four South African stalwarts for their opening Sunfoil Series match as Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Dane Piedt and Stiaan van Zyl will be part of the team.

Ontong said the left-arm swing bowler Beuran Hendricks might need some more first-class exposure at amateur-level before he represents the Cape Cobras in the Sunfoil Series.

Dane Paterson bowled with enormous pace and incredible control in the semi-final play-offs on Wednesday and might carry on where he left off last season when he nabbed out 42 batsmen in the Sounfoil Series