Cape Town - The Cape Cobras entrenched their position at the top of the One-Day Cup with a 26-run victory over the Knights at Newlands on Friday night.
The Cobras amassed a formidable 262/5 off their allotted 50 overs, courtesy of a stylish 113 from number three Stiaan van Zyl. The classy left-hander was at crease for 144 balls, finding the fence on 12 occasions.
Van Zyl had good support from Mohammed Yaseen Vallie, with the pair putting on 136 runs in 30.1 overs to set up the Cobras' innings.
Although Vallie was sedate for most of his knock, he put together a valuable 58 off 91 balls.
The pair came together after a rapid start from the Cobras' openers Dane Vilas and Andrew Puttick, who raced to 20 without loss after just two overs.
Puttick (12) seemed to play a shot every ball, which quickly led to his demise when he drove on the up to a full delivery from Johan van der Wath straight to Diego Rosier at cover.
Vilas continued the flurry of early boundaries, with the Knights' bowlers drifting too close to his pads on each occasion.
The end of the first powerplay slowed down the Cobras' run-rate, though, with Vilas perishing in the process when Thumi Masekela (1-59) went straight through the defences of the Cobras wicketkeeper to re-arrange his stumps.
This brought Vallie and Van Zyl together and the pair frustrated the Knights fielders with their good running between the wickets, despite Nicky Boje bowling his 10 overs of left-arm spin for just 28 runs.
Van Zyl’s trademark cover drive was the hallmark of his innings, while he also stroked the ball beautifully straight down the ground.
Cobras' captain Justin Ontong added the finishing touches to his team’s innings with quick-fire 24 off just seven balls.
The Knights were never in a realistic position to chase down the Cobras’ total after being reduced to 115/8 through some good pace bowling and some brilliant fielding from the home side.
The two run outs were out of the top draw, with Vallie and Ontong throwing down the stumps from acute angles to dismiss Rilee Rossouw (0) and Rosier (27).
Justin Kemp and Shaheen Khan both picked two wickets apiece to peg the Knights back during this period.
The lights could have been put off a long time ago were it not for the Knights’ "Bash Brothers" Dillon du Preez and Quinton Friend providing a late fireworks show for the second consecutive night.
The duo know only one way of playing, and that is to attack the bowlers by hurling their willow at anything within swinging reach.
They achieved the near impossible last Wednesday when they blasted 91 unbroken runs to spearhead the Knights to victory over the Dolphins at Kingsmead, and then almost did it again on Friday night.
Du Preez and Friend smashed the ball to all parts of Newlands to royally entertain those who braved the cold and wind in Cape Town.
In just 11.3 overs, 108 runs were scored, with Du Preez smashing another half century off just 32 balls.
All the Cobras' pace bowlers suffered during this period, forcing Ontong to go back to Kemp to bring a halt to the mayhem, which he duly did by getting Du Preez caught at long on for 66 (10x4, 1x6) off just 41 balls.
Friend struck a few more lusty blows after Du Preez’s departure to register his maiden List A 50 off just 34 balls.
Khan finally clean bowled Friend for 51 to bring an end to proceedings, allowing the Cobras to register a much-deserved victory.