Paarl - The Cape Cobras put one foot in the One-Day Cup final as Andrew Puttick’s 86 set them up for a four-wicket win in thrilling circumstances over the Warriors at Boland Park on Sunday.
Although they restricted the Warriors to 228 for eight, with Robin Peterson’s 2 for 44 in 10 overs the pick of the bowling, the visitors squeezed the Cobras batsmen throughout the chase before the hosts snuck home off the penultimate ball of the game.
The Cobras now have an eight-point lead over the second-placed Titans, who would need to win their remaining two games and hope that the Cobras lose their last fixture against the Dolphins to prevent a final at Newlands.
The Warriors deserved huge credit for the way they scrapped to stay in the game, having looked down and out when they were reduced to 90 for six after winning the toss and opting to bat, and then when the Cobras reached 122 for two in their chase.
The early troubles were due to Dane Paterson (2 for 53), who took out the Warriors openers in consecutive overs, and then Sybrand Engelbrecht (2 for 49), who removed Colin Ackermann and Colin Ingram in his spell.
The Warriors required some heroics from the lower order, with Darryl Brown making the most of his elevation to the franchise side by hitting 52, Sisanda Magala weighing in with 48 and then Rusty Theron wielding his hefty willow to smash an unbeaten 33 from 19 balls.
Although Basheeru-Deen Walters picked up the wickets of Richard Levi and Clyde Fortuin early on, Puttick continued his remarkable run of form as he took his tally in the competition to 539 runs from eight innings - 135 more than anyone else in the tournament.
His run-out in the 41st over brought the Warriors back into the game, leaving the Cobras needing 62 runs from 54 balls.
The hosts were fortunate to be able to lean on the finishing powers of Kemp, who was aided by Engelbrecht’s 27 and finished unbeaten on 28 as he timed the chase to perfection.