Co­bras need to re-fo­cus

Prince: Un­be­liev­able team per­for­mance against Lions


ANY coach who loses 237 matches worth of first-class ex­pe­ri­ence, and par­tic­u­larly within his seam bowl­ing de­part­ment, ahead of a trip to the Wan­der­ers would have been a touch con­cerned.

But not Cape Co­bras coach Ash­well Prince. Even though Rory Klein­veldt (in­jured) and Dane Pater­son (Proteas T20 call-up) were un­avail­able, Prince re­mained con­fi­dent that his team could take 20 wick­ets. And that’s ex­actly what they did, and within three days too, to com­plete an in­ningsand-71-run vic­tory over the Highveld Lions.

“Why did we beat the Lions de­spite los­ing Rory Klein­veldt and Dane Pater­son? Well, Lizaad Wil­liams has been around for a long time and ev­ery time he plays for the Co­bras, he has never let us down, he makes the step up well. And he took five wick­ets in this game,” Prince said. “Tladi Bokako made the step up and took the new ball and hardly strayed. Ja­son Smith took 3/19 and scored a half-cen­tury, and at a stage he bowled six overs for seven runs. An im­por­tant fac­tor in the sec­ond in­nings of the match was that we con­trolled the run rate (and did not let the Lions get away). And this was on a sur­face where you could get a cou­ple of wick­ets when you have new bats­men at the crease.”

The vis­i­tors dom­i­nated the con­test from the out­set, when they dis­missed the Lions for just 107 be­fore tak­ing full con­trol by post­ing 529 through cen­turies from young­sters Jan­ne­man Malan (137) and David Bed­ing­ham (107), and fur­ther half-cen­turies from all-rounders Ja­son Smith, Kyle Ver­reynne and Dane Piedt.

The ic­ing on the cake, though, came on the third af­ter­noon when cap­tain and off-spin­ner Piedt claimed seven wick­ets to close out the vic­tory.

“It was an un­be­liev­able team per­for­mance,” Prince said. “Dane bowled off-spin­ners and used the rough. It was a wicket on which you could eas­ily bag two or three if you were not es­tab­lished at the crease and that was what hap­pened in the end.

“They (Malan and Bed­ing­ham) bat­ted un­be­liev­ably well in just their sec­ond game for the Co­bras, and credit must go to Ja­son Smith, Kyle Ver­reynne and Piedt for get­ting us past the 500-run mark.”

The vic­tory pro­pelled the Western Cape fran­chise to top of the FourDay Fran­chise Se­ries stand­ings with 49 points af­ter two games. But un­for­tu­nately for the in-form Co­bras, the com­pe­ti­tion will now have a week break be­fore it re­sumes on 22 Oc­to­ber again, when Prince’s team head to Su­per­Sport Park to face arch-ri­vals and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, the Ti­tans.

“Yeah, we’re not too happy with the break,” Prince said. “It does come at an awk­ward time con­sid­er­ing the guys are play­ing re­ally good cricket at the mo­ment and the team is in (a) re­ally good space, but we knew about it be­fore the time, so there’s noth­ing we can re­ally do about it. We just need to re-fo­cus when we come to­gether again.”


JA­SON SMITH had a pro­duc­tive match with bat and ball at the Wan­der­ers. |

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