Co­bras show their venom in 4-Day se­ries as fo­cus shifts to white ball duel

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport - Khany­iso Tsh­waku

With the do­mes­tic sum­mer of cricket hav­ing moved to the first part of the lim­ited overs’ leg‚ the red-ball pro­gramme now takes a break.

How­ever‚ the five rounds of the 4-Day Fran­chise Se­ries served up some in­ter­est­ing cricket and the Cape Co­bras‚ de­spite their heavy de­feat against the Highveld Li­ons in Paarl on Thurs­day‚ re­main at the top of the ta­ble. This is how the tour­na­ment panned out.

1. Cape Co­bras – Four wins from five games (103.96 points)

The Cape Co­bras were su­perb in four of their five games and even won two games when chas­ing. That’s a sign of a team who are not only con­fi­dent in their abil­ity‚ but in know­ing when and how to fight back.

Dane Piedt‚ Dane Pater­son and Tladi Bokako have been ex­cel­lent with the ball but Pi­eter Malan has held the fort with the bat with the likes of his brother Jan­ne­man‚ David Bed­ing­ham and Zubayr Hamza en­sur­ing that starts weren’t wasted. Ja­son Smith‚ Aviwe Mgi­jima and Kyle Ver­reynne also for­ti­fied the Cape Co­bras ef­fort with their con­tri­bu­tions.

2. Highveld Li­ons – Three wins from five matches with one draw (91.72 points)

Enoch Nkwe’s side had one bad show­ing when they were crushed by the Cape Co­bras early in Oc­to­ber. Af­ter that dis­ap­point­ing game‚ they’ve made up for lost ground with con­vinc­ing wins against the Knights and the Co­bras to keep the lat­ter wor­ried at the top.

This side have some se­ri­ous bat­ting strength in depth and their var­ied bowl­ing has come through for them. They had the bet­ter of a drawn game against the Ti­tans in Potchef­stroom last week but they’ve been con­sis­tent in all de­part­ments.

3. Knights – Two wins‚ two losses and a draw (71.56 points)

When the Knights have been good‚ which was the case in the home wins against the Dol­phins (five wick­ets) and the War­riors (284 runs)‚ they’ve been very good.

When they lost to the Cape Co­bras (four wick­ets)‚ they were com­bat­ive in a highly com­pet­i­tive game, but the loss to the Highveld Li­ons (in­nings and 22 runs) was dis­ap­point­ing. Their col­lapse was ab­ject and prob­a­bly their low­est point in the five matches.

They played some smart cricket in their draw against the War­riors be­fore crush­ing them in Kim­berly. It’s clear this side know how to play the long game, but the stiff op­po­si­tion that are the Li­ons and the Co­bras asked ques­tions they couldn’t quite re­spond to ad­e­quately. They’ll still be a dif­fi­cult side in the sec­ond batch of five games. Pite van Biljon’s runs (572 at 63.77) haven’t gone to waste.

4. War­riors — One win‚ two draws and two losses (61.4 points)

This is also a youngish side with a new coach and at times in their per­for­mances it showed. They har­ried the Dol­phins into a shock de­feat in Dur­ban and were dis­ap­pointed not to get more out of draws against the Knights and the Ti­tans, de­spite the ad­verse weather.

How­ever‚ the man­ner of the de­feats to the Li­ons and the Knights were dis­con­cert­ing.

They could have should have bat­ted bet­ter in the two in­nings that doomed them in the losses.

How­ever‚ there’s a fair bit of ta­lent Ri­vash Gobind can work with. Get­ting the ta­lent to work co­he­sively in the man­ner in which they did in the Mo­men­tum 1-Day Cup will be his big­gest test this sea­son.

5. Ti­tans – One loss and four draws (58.54 points)

Bar­ring the loss to the Cape Co­bras‚ the weather hasn’t been very friendly to the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons. In their draws‚ the Ti­tans have been in rea­son­able po­si­tion and against the Dol­phins‚ they could have won if they had more time.

How­ever‚ those draws need to be con­verted into wins‚ es­pe­cially with the kind of form the Li­ons and Co­bras have dis­played. The Ti­tans have matches against both sides which will de­ter­mine the destiny of their ti­tle de­fence.

6. Dol­phins – Three losses and two draws (45.66 points)

The weather has been a prob- lem for the Dol­phins but they’ve also been poor in their de­feats. Vaughn van Jaarsveld has been a run-scor­ing main­stay (426 at 42.6) but there hasn’t been much around him to but­tress his ef­forts.

That’s the mat­ter Grant Mor­gan’s side need to fix be­cause from a bowl­ing per­spec­tive‚ they haven’t been all that bad. How­ever‚ with the Li­ons‚ Co­bras and Knights hav­ing reg­is­tered se­ri­ous out­right wins‚ they’ll have a tough task fight­ing back in the tour­na­ment.

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