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