Rory Kleinveldt and Zubayr Hamza put in stellar performances to help the WSB Cape Cobras to a seven-wicket victory over the VKB Knights in the penultimate round of the Momentum One Day Cup at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday.
Kleinveldt secured career-best bowling figures to help skittle the Knights for just 186 after Pite van Biljon had won the toss and elected to bat first while Hamza scored an unbeaten half-century as the Cobras ended on 187 for three with 35 balls remaining to help the home side secure a play-off spot in the Momentum One Day Cup.
Kleinveldt claimed five for 22 in 8.4 overs with only Rudi Second and Grant Mokoena showing any form of resistance as the visitors found the going tough under sunny skies in the Mother City. Second (49), who faced 69 deliveries and struck just two boundaries, shared in a fifth-wicket stand worth 73 in 100 balls with Mokoena (4$), who faced 64 balls himself while striking two fours and a six.
Second’s innings fell one run short of a half-century while Mokoena fell six runs short as the two batsmen fell within four balls of each other. The two set batsmen had rescued their team from absolute dire straits after Kleinveldt, Vernon Philander (10-3-30-1) and Dayyaam Galiem (5-0-25-1) had reduced the men from Bloemfontein to 45 for four.
Kleinveldt had done the early damage, removing Patrick Kruger for a duck, caught by Hamza at first slip and then clean-bowled Keegan Petersen for just two. Philander, on return to his domestic franchise, found some extra bounce and pace to have Andries Gous edging to Kyle Verreynne behind the stumps for seven with the total on nine for three.
Galiem then dismissed Van Biljon for 14, also edging behind to Verreynne before Second and Mokoena set about restoring some order to the innings. But with the pair set and looking to cash in on some milestones, debutante Tsepo Ndwandwa (7-0-35-1) and captain Dane Piedt (10-1-37-1) struck within four balls to remove Second and Mokoena respectively as both men were trapped in front.
Ryan McLaren (19) and Shadley van Schalkwyk (28) manage to push the total up somewhat with a stand worth 45 for the seventh wicket from 67 deliveries but the return of Kleinveldt to the attack brought an end to the partnership and also, very quickly, the end of the innings as he had Van Schalkwyk and Marchant de Lange (11) top-edging to short fine leg and then had Mbulelo Budaza (6) caught on the square-leg boundary.
In reply, the Cobras’ chase began steadily as Janneman Malan (25) and brother Pieter (17) handed the home side an opening stand of 40 from 72 deliveries. But within five overs, the Cobras had gone from 40 without loss to 56 for two as both Malan brothers were sent packing.
First Pieter was caught in the gully by McLaren, who took a sharp catch off Van Schalkwyk (9-1-24-1) and then Janneman was then caught at square leg off McLaren (10-3-36-1). Hamza, who faced 84 delvieries in his unbeaten stand and struck six boundaries, was joined at the crease by Aviwe Mgijima (27) as the pair added 44 runs for the third wicket.
But Mgijima’s luck was soon to run out as he played down the wrong line of a delivery from Tshepo Ntuli (5-0-24-1) and was clean bowled after striking four fours and facing 49 balls.
The rest, they say, is history as Hamza and Verreynne, who ended unbeaten on 44 from 55 balls, shared in an unbroken stand of 87 to steer their team home and to knock-out territory.
The final round of fixtures holds every possible mathematical equation as three teams fight it out for the final play-poff spot, should the bizhub Highveld Lions secure a victory over their neighbours, the Multiply Titans. The Cobras’ final game is against the Warriors in Port Elizabeth and victory could lift them into second place and a home semi final, depending on the result of the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, who travel to Potchefstroom to take on the Lions.
The Knights will have to hope that the Cobras beat the Warriors and that they themselves can overcome the table-topping Titans to try and secure the final play-off spot with all matches taking place on Saturday.