Cape Town - A blistering 91-run unbroken partnership between Jon-Jon Smuts
and Sinethemba Qeshile ended any lingering doubts by the Warriors and helped
them seize a pivotal six-wicket victory over the Cape
Cobras in their 4-Day Franchise Series encounter in Cape Town on Thursday.
Defeat for the log-leading hosts, coupled by the Highveld Lions winning the Jukskei derby against the Titans, threw the
title race wide open.
With two rounds remaining, the Cobras, whose first-innings
batting display was their let-down at Newlands, saw their near 20-point
advantage slashed to just over one-and-a-half following a crucial loss against
the impressive Warriors.
The Eastern Cape franchise started the final day on 109 for
three, needing a further 97 for victory.
They were dealt an early blow when Lesiba Ngoepe became the
fourth victim of Dane Piedt (4/68) to leave the away side on 115 for four. That
strike would have given the home side hope, but Smuts and Qeshile put their
foot on the gas to take the game away from the Cobras. The pair scored at 6.42
to the over as they finished the game in a further 14.1 overs.
The captain ended unbeaten on 70 off 73 balls (10 fours, 1
six), while young Qeshile plundered 50 off 49 deliveries (9 fours) to complete
a commanding win.
The result also kept alive the Warriors' slim title hopes -
they are now just over 27 points behind the leaders.