Cape Town - Dane Vilas and Sybrand Engelbrecht shared a 137-run partnership against the Knights to lead the Cape Cobras to a comfortable 73-run bonus point victory to ensure the Western Cape franchise stretched their lead at the top of the domestic one-day cup log at Newlands on Wednesday evening.
New Cobras recruit Mthokozi Shezi (4/38) closed out the win with a four-wicket haul to dismiss the Knights for a paltry 212.
The Cobras are on 19 points from four games. The Dolphins are in second place on 10 points from the same number of matches.
The batting pair came together at the midway stage of the Cape Cobras innings with the total on 146/5 in the 38th over with the home team requiring much-needed impetus against a disciplined Knights attack.
They certainly increased the tempo by initially playing orthodox low-risk cricket before exploding during the last 10 overs with some power-hitting at the back end of the innings to lift the Cobras to 285/5.
The pitch appeared on the slow side with a tennis ball bounce which did not make strokeplay easy, but Vilas and Engelbrecht showed that once set batting became easier.
Vilas certainly found his range by hammering 77 off 47 balls while Engelbrecht contributed 68 runs from 52 deliveries . For the second game running, the Cobras' charge in the final part of the innings proved the difference as the pair pummelled 113 runs in the last 10 overs, with an astonishing 82 runs coming in the last five.
There were solid contributions from the Cobras top-order once again, albeit that it came at a bit of a pedestrian pace. Andrew Puttick's run-spree in this season's competition continued when he added another half-century to his run tally.
The left-hander's 55 pushed him to the top of the scoring charts in the competition with 339 runs -- ahead of second-placed Dolphins captain Morne van Wyk.
There were starts for Richard Levi (25), Omphile Ramela (25) and Stiaan van Zyl (22), but were all guilty of soft dismissals which allowed the Knights to peg back the run-rate until the arrival of Vilas and Engelbrecht.
The only Cobras batsman not to get into double figures was captain Justin Ontong (2), who experienced a rare failure when he edged Quinton Friend to the solitary slip Reeza Hendricks. It was the only joy the Knights seamer enjoyed on the evening as he suffered the ignominy of being hauled out of the attack due to delivering two waist-high no balls at Vilas.
Friend had to be replaced by Obus Pienaar and that was actually the game-changer for the Cobras as Pienaar conceded 20 runs in his solitary over.
The Knights opening batsmen put the nightmare last 10 overs in the field behind them to get the visitors chase off to solid start with a 79-run stand for the first wicket in under 15 overs, but the loss of Hendricks (23) stemmed their flow.
It was the golden arm of Van Zyl that accounted for Hendricks, who tamely drove to occasional medium-pacer to Ontong at extra cover.
Fellow opener Gehardt Abrahams made 62 off 64 balls before he fell to Robin Peterson, and after his demise the wickets fell steadily for the Knights as they crashed to a heavy defeat.