A wonderful century from Proteas test opener Pieter Malan and a four-wicket haul on debut for Thando Ntini gave the WSB Cape Cobras an opening Momentum One Day Cup victory by 31 runs over the Warriors at the Recreation Ground in Oudsthoorn on Sunday.
Man of the match Malan registered his third MODC century, scoring 106 off 114 balls with nine fours and two maximums to help the Cobras total 274 for six in 49 overs after a rain delay reduced the match by one over per side. Malan was aided by Jason Smith, who scored his third MODC half-century, crafting seven boundaries in his 86-ball 76 after Dane Piedt had won the toss and elected to bat first.
In reply Mtini, the son of former Proteas stalwart Makhaya, grabbed four wickets for 36 runs in 9.1 overs as the Warriors were bowled out for 245 in pursuit of a Duckworth/Lewis/Stern adjusted target of 277 in 49 overs with only captain Rudi Second making any worthwhile impact on the scorecard.
Second struck a run-a-ball 66 which included five boundaries but struggled to find any support with none of the other top five batsmen making more than 23. It was Ntini though, making his white ball debut for the Cobras, who made the early inroads, grabbing the first two wickets, that of Gihahn Cloete (16) and Matthew Breetzke (23).
George Linde (10-0-58-2) then grabbed the wicket of Sinethemba Qeshile (20) before Piedt (9-0-53-1) had Yaseen Vallie trapped in front for 14 to leave the visitors on 111 for four. Chasing a tough target of 277 needed the Warriors to build partnerships, which they failed to do with five partnerships registering in the 30’s.
Ntini’s return to the attack resulted in Second’s wicket, pulled to Smith at short mid-wicket before clean-bowling Onke Nyaku (30), who tried to paddle the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head. But Ntini, in search of his maiden five-wicket haul, pulled up after the first ball of his final over with cramp and had to leave the field with Smith (0.5-0-5-1) finishing the over and grabbing the wicket of Andrew Birch (2) with his first ball.
Rory Kleinveldt (9-0-52-1), playing in his final season, had Marco Marais playing onto his stumps for 10 before Dane Paterson (9.1-0-31-1) finished the match having Dyllan Matthews caught by Smith on the mid-wicket fence.
Earlier, Malan was instrumental in his side’s surge to 274, sharing in two important partnerships of 61 with Simon Khomari (12) and then 84 with Smith. The stand with Smith for the fourth wicket came off just 88 balls as the two right-handers sought to lift the run-rate, which had hovered around the four per over mark.
Hanno Kotze, who grabbed a stumping on his full debut, failed with the bat, facing just four balls before being trapped in front without scoring by local lad Glenton Stuurman (10-0-39-1) before a horrendous mix-up saw the run out of Zubayr Hamza for 21.
Once Malan departed, caught on the mid-wicket fence by Breetzke off Nyaku (10-0-60-1), Smith upped the ante, before lofting Sisanda Magala (10-0-67-1) down towards long-on to be caught by Cloete. Aviwe Mgijima struck just one boundary in his 11 before Linde smashed a four and three sixes to boost the total with his unbeaten 31 from just 14 deliveries.
The Cobras failed to secure a bonus-point victory but are third on the six-team log after the first round of games. The Cobras move to Paarl to host the Imperial Lions next Friday while the Warriors travel to Bloemfontein to take on the VKB Knights.
**As published on www.supersport.com