Janneman Malan scored the first century of the CSA T20 Challenge to help the WSB Cape Cobras to a seven-wicket bonus-point victory over the Warriors at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl on Friday evening.
The right-handed opener was sublime, striking 12 boundaries and one six on his way to an unbeaten 103 from just 57 deliveries as the Cobras ended on 152 for three in response to the Warriors’ 151 for eight where Aviwe Mgijima claimed career-best figures of 3-14 from his part-time off-spin after Rory Kleinveldt had won the toss and elected to bowl first against historic evidence.
Malan’s century was the second of his T20 career and the second on this ground after Khaya Zondo had done so for the then Impis. Malan’s effort was so emphatic that he dominated the opening stand of 61, which came from just 39 balls, with Hashim Amla (7), who struggled once again in the winelands district.
Amla’s difficulty was made more evident as he gloved leg-spinner Thomas Kaber (2-0-19-1) down the leg side to be caught behind by Sinethemba Qeshile. David Bedingham (26) joined batsman of the match Malan and the pair kept up the frantic pace of the chase as the home side pushed hard for the all-important bonus-point, adding 46 runs for the second wicket from 34 deliveries.
Bedingham received the signal from the dug-out to push harder but was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Lutho Sipamla from the bowling of the left-arm spin of Jan de Klerk (3-0-21-1). George Linde (9) was elevated up the order as coach Ashwell Prince looked for the continued impetus, but Linde’s elevation failed as the left-hander slapped Sisanda Magala (3-0-25-1) straight to Sipamla on the deep point boundary.
The intensity that Malan played with was evident in his scoring as the opener conceded just seven dot balls in his 57-ball innings as he forced his partners into turning singles into two’s, with Vernon Philander (3 not out) almost feeling the pinch in what was the final over of the match, coming back for a second run that gave Malan his century after a referral to the third umpire for a potential run out.
The urgency from the home side, not only with the bat, but also with the ball and in the field, paid dividends as the bonus-point victory lifted the Cape Cobras to the top of the CSA T20 log after three rounds of play, and was a complete turn around from their humiliating defeat at the hands of the Multiply Titans just two days ago.
Earlier, De Klerk and Magala had given the visitors something to bowl at with an unbeaten stand of 31 for the ninth wicket with Magala striking a four and two sixes to end unbeaten on 25 while De Klerk’s more sedate run a ball 18 included two fours.
Gihahn Cloete (28) and Matthew Breetzke (12) had given the visitors a flying start, scoring 20 off the first two overs but Kleinveldt (4-0-27-2) and Tladi Bokako (3-0-19-1) quickly reduced the Warriors to 43 for two as Kleinveldt had Breetzke caught at mid-on by Malan and the Bokako bowled cleverly to castle Jon-Jon Smuts (7) off his pads.
Then enter bowler of the match Mgijima, who normaly bowls medium-pace deliveries. Mgijima picked up two wickets in his first over, first having the big-hitting Marco Marais (3) caught with a rank long-hop at deep mid-wicket by Linde and then two balls later, having Cloete stumped down the leg-side by wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne.
In his next over, Mgijima picked up his third when former Cobras man, Lesiba Ngoepe (14) swung across the line and was trapped in front. Qeshile tried to pick up the pace of the innings but was caught on the long-on boundary by Dane Paterson off Philander (4-0-25-1) and Kleinveldt returned to see the back of Kaber for 15.
Paterson’s (3-0-34-1) dismissal of Andrew Birch for four, left the Warriors on 120 for eight with three and a half overs to go in the innings but Magala and De Klerk pushed their side to a competitive total.
The Cobras next host the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday while the Warriors travel back home to East London to host the bizhub Highveld Lions.