JP Duminy scored his third half century of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge to lead the WSB Cape Cobras to an exciting three-wicket victory over the VKB Knights at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday evening.
The Cobras captain landed his best effort of the campaign, scoring 67 off just 44 balls which included eight fours and a six before being trapped lbw by Marchant de Lange (4-0-31-1) with the scores level.
Duminy was reprimanded by the umpire for his dissent at having lost his wicket at such a late stage of the game.
Duminy was key in leading his side to victory after having won the toss and putting the Knights in to bat first. He used his bowlers to good effect as Rory Kleinveldt (4-0-19-3) helped restrict the visitors to 159 for five and with the hosts struggling on 108 for six, the men from Bloemfontein thought they were on their way to a third win.
But Duminy and Vernon Philander added 51 runs for the seventh wicket off just 20 balls to guide their side to the brink of victory before Duminy received the dreaded finger from umpire Bongani Jele.
Duminy notched up his 36th T20 half century off just 37 balls while Philander, who ended unbeaten on 22, faced just 11 balls with three boundaries to see his side home.
The hosts had made a hash of the chase, losing Richard Levi (3) early on. Temba Bavuma (6), Aviwe Mgijima (5), Ferisco Adams (9) and George Linde (9) could not make it into double figures and when Hashim Amla played Eddie Leie (4-0-38-2) onto his stumps for 29, the Cape faithful thought their chance at victory was gone.
But Duminy and Philander kept their wits about them, putting fielders under pressure with second runs, picking up the boundaries – some fourtunate – when needed and then Kleinveldt (four not out) finished off the job by hitting his only ball for a boundary to win the game, leaving the Cobras on 163 for seven with one over to spare.
Earlier on, David Miller (50), Theunis de Bruyn (40) and Ryan McLaren (31 not out) had kept their side in the hunt batting first.
Kleinveldt nabbed the first wicket of Leus du Plooy (16) and then grabbed the key scalps of De Bruyn and Miller to halt the charge.
Despite the early loss of Du Plooy, De Bruyn and Grant Mokoena (13) added 47 runs for the second wicket off 33 balls before Mthiwekhaya Nabe (4-0-35-1) had Mokoena caught by Mgijima on the square-leg boundary.
De Bruyn fell shortly thereafter, edging Kleinveldt to Kyle Verreynne behind the stumps.
De Bruyn batted with authority, cracking three fours and three sixes off 22 balls behind getting an inside edge to the keeper.
Miller was undeterred though and kept the scoreboard ticking along at eight runs to the over before Patrick Kruger (2) lofted Duminy (3-0-29-1) straight to Mgijima after adding 24 runs with Miller.
The left-handed Proteas batsman was then joined by McLaren and the pair added 50 runs for the fifth wicket off 31 balls as Miller struck a boundary to raise his third half century of the tournament off 34 balls before hooking a ball from Kleinveldt straight down the throat of Amla fielding at fine leg.
The victory lifts the Cobras back off the foot of the table after the Warriors had moved ahead thanks to their victory over the bizhub Highveld Lions earlier in the day.
The Knights though remain in second place on the log on 10 points, 11 behind the defending champions, the Multiply Titans at the halfway stage of the tournament, while the Cobras sit just two points further back.
The Cobras next host the Warriors at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday while the Knights host the Lions in Bloemfontein next Friday evening.