The VKB Knights remained winless in the CSA T20 Challenge as the WSB Cape Cobras secured a five-run victory at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Friday evening.
Rory Kleinveldt (4-0-26-1), Vernon Philander (4-0-17-1) and Tladi Bokako (4-0-20-2) restricted the Knights to 145 for seven chasing 151 for victory after the Knights had been cruising to victory on 120 for three, requiring 31 to win off the final 24 balls.
But the Cobras bowling attack, as they have done most of this season so far, bowled as a collective Scrooge, with Bokako starting the rot when he uprooted Ryan McLaren’s middle stump, sending the former Proteas allrounder back to the dugout for just six. Pit van Biljon (19), who had struck one for and one six off 12 balls, then holed out to Philander on the long-on boundary from the bowling of offspinner Nkululeko Serame (3-0-25-1).
The youthful Gerald Coetzee (9) was then brilliantly caught by Bokako, running around from short fine leg to dive and take the catch off Philander before a brilliant throw from David Bedingham in the deep saw Shadley van Schalkwyk run out without facing a ball. Grant Mokoena (14 not out) needed to strike a six from the final ball to send the game to a Super Over, could only manage a single as the Cobras extended their lead at the top of the log to six points.
The highlight of the Knights’ innings was a 7th T20 fifty from opener Patrick Kruger, who faced just 38 balls, striking three boundaries and three maximums before slicing Bokako out towards the point boundary where George Linde claimed a good catch running along the rope. Raynard van Tonder struggled to keep up with the pace of the innings, striking three boundaries from 32 deliveries before edging Linde (4-0-40-1) to Kyle Verreynne behind the stumps after he and Kruger had setup the chase beautifully with a stand worth 76 from 61 balls for the second wicket.
Earlier, Bedingham had solidified a tame batting effort from the home side, scoring his maiden T20 fifty before flat-batting Coetzee (4-0-35-1) to Kruger at mid-off for 50 from 42 balls which included five boundaries and a six. The Cobras though had Philander to thank for reaching 150 as the Proteas test bowler smashed four sixes at the backend of the innings from just 15 balls to end unbeaten on 30 while Linde struck two fours for his unbeaten 22, also from 15 deliveries.
The Cobras started their innings slowly with Hashim Amla’s nightmare season continuing, edging Van Schalkwyk (4-0-23-1) to Gouws behind the stumps for just four. Amla’s nightmare continued in the field when he dropped Van Tonder at short third man off Serame.
Janneman Malan, who scored a century against the Warriors on Friday, struck three fours but then failed to move his feet as he edged a wide ball from McLaren (4-0-30-2) to Gouws behind the stumps for 18. Verreynne, who has been in good form of late, struggled to get going, striking just one six from 17 deliveries but then moved across his stumps and only managed to lob McLaren to Ottniel Baartman at mid-off.
Tshepo Ntuli will carry some heavy burden on his shoulders as the spinner dropped Philander at backward point from the first ball that Philander faced, with the experienced allrounder going on to setup a winning total.
The Cobras now lead the standings with 17 points from five games, six ahead of the bizhub Highveld Lions who have a game in hand. The Knights remain without a victory after five games, having lost three while two have been wahsed out. The Cobras next encounter is a trip to Port Elizabeth to take on the Warriors on Saturday while the Knights head home to host the Lions in Kimberley, also on Saturday.