Johannesburg - The Momentum One-Day Cup title was shared between the bizhub Highveld Lions and the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras after another washout at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Late afternoon thundershowers had already ruined the first attempt at playing the final on Friday and another typically ferocious storm led to the second one also being declared a no result by umpires Marais Erasmus and Johan Cloete.
There was a lot more hope that a winner could be declared on Saturday, though, after 61 of the 100 overs were completed in comparison to Friday’s 16.2.
However, it was not to be as the one-day tournament was shared for the first time ever in South African cricket.
The result also meant that the bizhub Highveld Lions secured their first piece of silverware since 2007, while the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras defended the title they won last year.
On the field, it was a much better day for the visitors, who had slumped to 64 for four before rain intervened on Friday.
After winning the toss and bowling first, they restricted the home team to a modest 241 for seven.
Alviro Petersen top-scored with 56, while Quinton de Kock (41), Stephen Cook (31) and Gulam Bodi (37) all got starts without kicking on.
Rory Kleinveldt was the pick of the visiting bowlers with an impressive three for 41 in an innings that was a story of two halves – the bizhub Highveld Lions dominating the first with plenty of runs, while the second was tidy and tight in favour of the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
There was also some ferocious fast bowling from Dale Steyn (1-56), who struck Zander de Bruyn (17 not out) on the back of his head, although the batsman did survive to bat through and help his side set 242.
The Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras began the response with little fuss as Andrew Puttick and Richard Levi raced away past 50 in the seventh over. They extended their partnership to 61, before the introduction of Imran Tahir put the brakes on.
The Proteas leg-spinner, who finished with two for two in two overs, inflicted the first breakthrough by trapping Puttick leg before wicket for 24. Three deliveries later he sent Levi (36 off 25 balls) on his way with a wide delivery that he crashed straight to Hardus Viljoen at mid-off.
The rain arrived at 69 for two and the players never returned.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) Acting CEO Jacques Faul congratulated the two franchises on sharing the trophy. “It was unfortunate that the weather dampened both attempts to play the final as it has done to many of the league matches as well but there is no doubt that the two most consistent sides reached the final. They have both played highly professional and entertaining cricket and they are to be commended for that.
“I would also like to thank one of our many new sponsors, Momentum, for their massive contribution to the success of the competition. The national selectors took note of the high standard of play and this is reflected in the number of new caps announced this week for the Proteas’ squads to play New Zealand.”
bizhub Higveld Lions: Stephen Cook (capt), Alviro Petersen Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Neil McKenzie, Jean Symes, Zander de Bruyn, Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Pumelela Matshikwe, Imran Tahir.
Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras: Richard Levi, Andrew Puttick, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas (wkt), Yaseen Vallie, Justin Ontong (capt), Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Johann Louw