Cape Town - The Cobras advanced to the semifinals of the Standard Bank Pro20 Series with a seven-wicket win over the Warriors at Newlands on Friday night.
The Warriors, who won the toss, scored 126/7 (20 overs), to which the Cobras replied with 127/3 (18.5 overs).
At the heart of the Cobras' commendable matchwinning effort were batsmen Owais Shah and Justin Ontong who produced the highest batting partnership in the match. Their undefeated fourth-wicket stand was worth 98 runs and it helped to transfer the pressure to the Warriors at a time when the Cobras had their backs to the wall, and with six overs left, they reduced the required run rate to a mere run-a-ball.
Shah eventually scored 58 not out (45 balls, five fours, one six) and Ontong 42 not out (38 balls, one four, two sixes) by the time they wrapped up the victory effort.
The Warriors' new-ball pair of Rusty Theron and Makhaya Ntini caused havoc at the start of the Cobras' chase when they picked up a wicket in each of their second overs. This left the Cobras reeling at 10/2 and four overs later they suffered another setback when Herschelle Gibbs (13) was sent packing as the pressure from the Warriors' attack started taking its toll.
Shah and Ontong offered stubborn resistance as they battled to get the run chase back on track and a few lusty blows from duo in the middle overs helped to accelerate the run rate, despite a decided lack of pace offered by the Newlands wicket.
Earlier, the Cobras spinners Claude Henderson (1/26) and Michael Rippon (2/28) kept the second half of the Warriors innings somewhat subdued before pacemen Justin Kemp (1/11) and Vernon Philander (2/31) dried up the runs in the closing overs.
Leg-spinner Rippon was particularly miserly in his first three overs as the opposition battled to hit him off the square. His variations kept the batters guessing and he looks like a fine prospect for the future.
After Charl Langeveldt snapped up the first Warriors wicket in the opening over, Ashwell Prince kept the innings together until the penultimate over.
He scored 57 (55 balls, four 4s, one 6) before Kemp had Prince clean-bowled. Kemp was impressively economical, conceding a rate of less than four runs in his three overs.
Jon-Jon Smuts (21) offered Prince some support in an innings in which only three batters reached doubled figures.
Philander was the surprise go-to man at the death, a job normally reserved for Langeveldt, before the Warriors were restricted to a lowly 126 runs in their innings.
D Jacobs c Vilas b Langeveldt 4
A Prince b Kemp 57
J Smuts c Shah b Henderson 21
J Kreusch b Rippen 17
M Boucher c Shah b Rippon 3
C Thyssen c Gibbs b Philander 4
N Boje not out 7 L Meyer b Philander 3
J Theron not out 3
Extras (w 6, nb 1) 7
Total (for 7 wickets) 126 (20 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-58, 3-90, 4-104, 5-111, 6-114, 7-119
C Langeveldt 2-0-12-1,
J Louw 3-0-18-0 (1nb),
V Philander 4-0-31-2,
C Henderson 4-0-26-1 (2w),
M Rippon 4-0-28-2,
J Kemp 3-0-11-1
Cobras (target 127 runs)
R Levi c Prince b Theron 6
H Gibbs c Meyer b Kreusch 13
D Vilas c Jacobs b Ntini 0
O Shah not out 58
J Ontong not out
42 Extras (lb 5, w 3) 8
Total (for 3 wickets) 127 (18.5 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-10, 3-29
J Theron 3-0-19-1 (1w),
M Ntini 3-0-15-1,
G Kruger 2-0-21-0,
J Kreusch 3-0-14-1,
N Boje 4-0-22-0,
J Smuts 2-0-21-0 (2w),
L Meyer 1.5-0-10-0
Result: Cobras won by 7 wickets