Cook, Van der Dussen seal the deal
THE HIGHVELD LIONS wasted little time in finishing off the Cape Cobras at the Wanderers yesterday, needing just 40 minutes to knock off the remaining 43 runs to win by 10 wickets in the opening round of the Sunfoil Series.
Stephen Cook missed out on a 39th first-class hundred, ending on an unbeaten 97 off just 91 balls (17x4), while opening partner Rassie van der Dussen finished on 50 not out (74 balls, 8x4) early on day three. The Lions picked up 15.08 points, with the Cobras getting just four.
The Lions chased down the 160-run target in just 26.5 overs, in stark contrast to the three previous innings in the match, where the bowlers were dominant. The Cobras could only muster 102 and 211 respectively, while the hosts were dismissed for 154.
So the Cape side may have thought they had a chance in the fourth innings, especially with Proteas Test bowlers Vernon Philander and Dane Piedt in attack.
But it was Dane Paterson who nearly got the breakthrough when Cook, on six, edged to Stiaan van Zyl at slip on Thursday. But Cook survived and knuckled down with Van der Dussen as they took the game away from the Cobras. They compiled 117 runs in 18 overs to effectively seal the deal.
For Cobras coach Paul Adams, it is another frustrating outcome as he had spoken about how his top batsmen needed to show a fighting spirit and place a premium on their wickets.
But the highest score from a top-four batsman across both innings came from new No 3 Zubayr Hamza, He hit 29 in the first knock, with captain Omphile Ramela, Andrew Puttick and Van Zyl failing.
The only Cobras batsman who stood out was 21-year-old Jason Smith, who struck 95 off 117 balls (16x4) in the second innings – to go with his 4/24 with the ball during the Lions’ first innings – while Piedt added a 41 to his first-innings 22.
The Proteas will be delighted that Cook and Temba Bavuma (76* in the first innings) got among the runs ahead of next month’s three-Test series against Australia, while Hardus Viljoen made a bid for Test selection with a second-innings haul of 6/75.