Brave Co­bras crash in Paarl

Ag­gres­sive War­riors on their way to the fi­nal

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

EX­CEL­LENT death bowl­ing by Rusty Theron and Wayne Par­nell, al­lied to to cen­tury stands for the first and fifth wick­ets, saw the War­riors reach the fi­nal of the MTN 40 com­pe­ti­tion by beat­ing the Cape Co­bras by nine runs in the semi-fi­nal at Paarl last night.

The War­riors first com­piled an im­pres­sive to­tal of 274 for four wick­ets, then lim­ited the Co­bras to 265 for eight as Theron grabbed 4/48 to move to 19 wick­ets in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Par­nell, this week signed by the Delhi Dare­dev­ils in the IPL for R4.5 mil­lion, showed his worth in the fi­nal overs of the match by dry­ing up the runs just as the Co­bras needed a cou­ple of big overs. He fin­ished with 1/43, but his con­tri­bu­tion went much fur­ther than those fig­ures sug­gest.

The Co­bras were not far off the tar­get, but a cou­ple of soft dis­missals early on, then los­ing two wick­ets in the 35th over saw them lose im­pe­tus.

Top-scorer for the Co­bras was cap­tain Justin Kemp, whose 71 off 55 balls (eight fours and a six) kept his side in the con­test for a while un­til he went lbw to Theron in the 35th over, four balls be­fore Rory Klein­veldt (nought). Oth­ers to spark were An­drew Puttick (41 off 38 balls, eight fours) and JP Du­miny (40 off 42 balls, three fours and a six), but a top per­former should have bat­ted the in­nings.

Ear­lier the Co­bras were av­er­age in the field, with a cou­ple of catches go­ing down. And, in and a lack­lus­tre last five overs, they con­ceded 67 runs. And they will not want re­mind­ing that last night's de­feat was their sec­ond in a semi-fi­nal this sea­son, af­ter the Cham­pi­ons League ex­pe­ri­ence in Hy­der­abad, In­dia, in Oc­to­ber.

The War­riors started with a brisk col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween open­ers Justin Kreusch and Ash­well Prince. The pair were able to pick up bound­aries reg­u­larly, Kreusch fol­low­ing up his cen­tury of Sun­day against the Lions by hit­ting 60 off 59 balls. Prince made up for his re­cent dip in form by con­tribut­ing a run-a-ball 48 be­fore be­com- ing the first bats­man to go out.

Prince had a let-off on 27, when wick­et­keeper An­drew Puttick dived left but could not hold on to the out­side edge off Ver­non Phi­lan­der.

At that point the War­riors were on 62/0, and the open­ers went on to add 104 runs off 97 balls be­fore Prince lofted a drive off Test team­mate Du­miny straight to na­tional cap­tain Graeme Smith at deep mid-off. Du­miny's cred­i­bil­ity as an off-spinner con­tin­ues to grow, and he forced the loss of the sec­ond wicket when Colin In­gram pushed one of his de­liv­er­ies into the cov­ers, set off for a sin­gle and saw Kreusch run out.

Prince hit six fours and Kreusch slammed five bound­aries and a glo­ri­ous straight six off Rory Klein­veldt, in the fifth over of the in­nings.

All the War­riors bats­men bar Mark Boucher (three) made good con­tri­bu­tions. No 3 bats­man Colin In­gram hit three fours in his 42-ball knock of 35 be­fore he slog-swept spinner Robin Peter­son straight to Klein­veldt at mid­wicket, with the to­tal on 159. Five balls and four runs later Boucher was bril­liantly caught by a div­ing Gibbs at point, and the War­riors were on 163/4.

Man of the match Jac­ques Kal­lis and Ja­cobs then went about their busi­ness in an un­hur­ried way, even though they seemed to have missed a trick or two dur­ing the two five-over bat­ting power-plays, taken be­tween overs 26 and 35. The power-plays de­liv­ered 32 runs each, with only the 26th over re­al­is­ing dou­ble fig­ures - 11 runs.

But the fifth-wicket pair kept their heads and cashed in.

The Co­bras used four bowlers to bowl the fi­nal five overs, and none of them could stem the run-flow. Stal­wart Charl Langeveldt leaked 17 in the 39th over - Ja­cobs cut­ting a four and pulling a six among other shots - and Klein­veldt went for 16 in the 40th over, which in­cluded a flat­tish driven six by Kal­lis through the cov­ers to bring up the 100-run part­ner­ship.

Kal­lis ended un­de­feated on 73 off 55 balls, with six fours and two sixes, while Ja­cobs con­trib­uted 47 not out off 34 balls with four fours and a six. Their part­ner­ship was worth 111 runs off 76 balls, with 58 of the runs com­ing in bound­aries.

The other semi-fi­nal, be­tween the Ti­tans and the Dol­phins, takes place at Cen­tu­rion to­mor­row.

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