Harmer sends Cobras spinning to defeat
BLOND Warriors offspinner Simon Harmer mesmerised the Cape Cobras batsmen at Paarl yesterday as he bowled his team to a 139- run victory in their SuperSport Series clash, with career- best first- class figures of eight for 72.
The 22- year- old took seven wickets in a row after new- ball bowler Andrew Birch had sent opener Andrew Puttick back off the 12th ball of the final day.
The Cobras had started the day on 20-0, chasing a victory target of 293 runs. They failed dismally, showing only the briefest flashes of resistance. The match – the Cobras’ first defeat in two seasons – was wrapped up by 2.25pm.
Harmer also had a hand in a run-out – the ninth wicket to fall – and then ended the match with his eighth scalp as top-scorer Dane Vilas (57 off 67 balls, three fours and five sixs) holed out to Lyall Meyer on the longon boundary.
The spinner troubled the Cobras batsmen on a dry track which presented him with a patch of rough to bowl into.
Harmer had a good game in his Supersport debut against the Cobras in defeat in Paarl in March this year, scoring a total of 114 runs for once out, and picking up a fivewicket haul. Before yesterday’s performance his best first- class figures were 6- 55 for Eastern Province against Western Province in Port Elizabeth earlier this season.
Yesterday he twice took two wickets in an over as the Cobras never quite got their heads around the task before them, which should have been within the capabilities of a side of their strength.
The day did not start well for the Cobras, with overnight batsman Putttick (19 in 24 minutes, four fours) going caught behind off Birch.
A stand of 25 runs for the second wicket followed between Yaseen Vallie and Stiaan van Zyl before the former was stumped for an 80-minute knock of 18 (one four) by Athenkosi Dyili, to give Harmer the first of his four wickets in the first session.
Harmer, taking on the senior spinner’s role with Johan Botha away playing in Australia’s Big Bash League, kept all the batsmen in check, flight- ing cleverly into the wind.
There was great jubilation when he snaffled the wicket of the in- form Justin Ontong for a duck two balls after Vallie’s dismissal. This time Dyili took a catch to get rid of the prolific right-hander whose last five SuperSport innings have included three half-centuries as well as a top score of 142 against the Lions two weeks ago.
When Ontong was out the Cobras were in a bad way on 50-3, and Harmer and seamer Meyer in tandem dried up the runs. JP Duminy (seven) and Van Zyl (20 in 101 minutes, two fours) both fell to slip catches by Arno Jacobs as Harmer turned the ball away from them.
The Cobras had needed some solid foundations to be laid at the start of the day, but they got anything but that thanks to the wily spinner’s efforts.
At lunch the Cobras’ score stood on 75-5, and for a while after the break captain Justin Kemp (22 in 92 minutes, one four) and Vilas launched a rescue attempt. Harmer it was who broke the sixthwicket stand of 45 between the two by trapping Kemp in front, and then three balls later having a third left-hander in Robin Peterson ( 0) caught at slip by Jacobs.
Vilas, with the battle all but lost, then hit out against the Warriors’ destroyer-in-chief, smacking five sixes, including three in one Harmer over.
The man of the match award went to Warriors captain Colin Ingram for his scores of 140 and 92 not out, although Harmer might have rated a share of the spoils.
The win was the Eastern Cape side’s second in a row.
EIGHT-WICKET WARRIOR: Simon Harmer, who took eight Cobras wickets, is congratulated by teammates after nabbing JP Duminy in Paarl yesterday.