Vin­tage Gibbs as Co­bras cruise in

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MICHAEL DOMAN

CAPE CO­BRAS bats­man Her­schelle Gibbs set New­lands abuzz last night with a scin­til­lat­ing un­beaten cen­tury which shot his side to a six-wicket victory against the Dol­phins in an MTN 40 game and showed that he de­serves an­other run in the na­tional one­day side.

The Co­bras were chas­ing 244 to win and with 90 de­liv­er­ies left needed to score at a run a ball for victory. Gibbs turned that chal­lenge into a cake­walk as he pro­ceeded to mas­sacre the bowl­ing, the Co­bras reach­ing 248 for four wick­ets with 28 balls to spare.

The Co­bras No 4 bats­man reached the half-cen­tury mark off 52 balls, but ac­cel­er­ated mer­ci­lessly af­ter­wards, to reach three fig­ures in just 25 more de­liv­er­ies.

In his sec­ond fifty he plun­dered four fours and four sixes, end­ing the game with a char­ac­ter­is­tic in­side-out drive over the cov­ers for six. That blow took him to 102 not out – his 26th lim­ited overs cen­tury, and fol­lowed the 60 he scored against the War­riors in East Lon­don on Sun­day.

He was dropped on 83 at mid­wicket by HD Ackerman, but by then he had al­ready vir­tu­ally as­sured the Co­bras of victory.

He did not do it all alone, though. An ideal foil to the blaz­ing bat of Gibbs was Justin On­tong, who con­trib­uted 31 not out off 28 balls to an un­bro­ken fifth wicket part­ner­ship of 108 runs in 12.1 overs. On­tong hit two fours.

Robin Peter­son, wick­et­less on the night, made up with the bat. Com­ing in one down with the Co­bras’ score on 10, Peter­son played the pinch-hit­ter role to per­fec­tion, smack­ing nine fours and a six in a 35-ball in­nings of 51. Be­fore he was dis­missed by Jo­han Louw in the 10th over of the in­nings, he con­trib­uted the lion’s share of the runs in a sec­ond-wicket stand of 63 with An­drew Puttick – Louw’s sec­ond vic­tim four overs later.

Ear­lier at­tack­ing half-cen­turies from cap­tain Im­raan Khan and Dave Miller, and use­ful con­tri­bu­tions from the rest of the bats­men, pro­pelled the Dol­phins to a handy 243 for four wick­ets.

Khan hit his sec­ond fifty in three matches this sea­son, dom­i­nat­ing a first-wicket stand of 112 with Ackerman.

Khan’s last visit to New­lands was as a Test bats­man against Aus­tralia ear­lier this year, when he man­aged just 20 runs. Last night he was in a much bet­ter space, col­lect­ing an at­trac­tive 72 off 76 balls be­fore pulling a Sy­brand En­gel­brecht de­liv­ery down Henry Davids’ throat at mid­wicket to be the first man out in the 22nd over. Khan hit seven fours and two sixes, while Ackerman (39 off 64 balls) played the tra­di­tional sheet-an­chor role, hit­ting only two bound­aries.

Loots Bos­man was in an ag­gres­sive mood at No 3, smack­ing two fours and a six in his 20-ball in­nings of 22. How­ever, he had his stumps spead­ea­gled by pace­man Fran­cois Plaatjies in the 27th over, im­me­di­ately af­ter hit­ting a fe­ro­cious shot for a straight four.

Plaatjies, a short, skiddy fast bowler, found Ackerman’s out­side edge four balls later and Puttick took an ex­cel­lent div­ing catch to have the Dol­phins on 145-3.

Ahmed Amla then got to­gether with the ag­gres­sive Dave Miller, the pair adding 94 runs for the fourth wicket in 12.4 overs. The stand was only bro­ken in the fi­nal over of the in­nings, with Plaatjies again the suc­cess­ful bowler. Amla, forc­ing the pace, was caught off a lead­ing edge by Kemp in the cov­ers, for a use­ful 37 off 41 balls (one four and one six).

MIller’s face-sav­ing 55 not out used up 39 balls, and he hit five fours and two sixes. His con­tri­bu­tion was es­pe­cially wel­come af­ter the team scored only 21 runs in the sec­ond power play, from over 26 to over 30, los­ing two wick­ets in the process.

He and Amla im­proved mat­ters by adding 43 runs in the third power-play of five overs.

The Co­bras bowlers were a mixed bag, but they would not have been happy with conced- ing 17 ex­tras, in­clud­ing 13 wides.

Plaatjies’ 3-42 was an ex­cel­lent re­turn, but equally good was off­spin­ner En­gel­brecht, who was in­stru­men­tal in slow­ing the Dol­phins’ early mo­men­tum. Last night’s win took the Co­bras to 10 points, but the Ti­tans, who thumped the Lions by nine wick­ets at the Wan­der­ers, and col­lected a bonus point in the process, top the log with 11 points.

LEON LESTRADE

HOW’S THAT? Sy­brand En­gel­brecht of the Co­bras ap­peals un­suc­cess­fully for the wicket of HD Ackerman at New­lands last night.

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