Cape Town - Hardus Viljoen took six wickets and Stephen Cook struck an unbeaten half-century to carry the Highveld Lions to the brink of victory after two days of their Sunfoil Series opener against the Cape Cobras in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Fast bowler Viljoen, whose early season form last year forced him into the Proteas set-up, took 6/75 as the visitors were bowled out for 211 at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on the second day.
Despite that being the highest score of the match, the Cobras’ paltry first-innings 102 meant that the Lions needed 160 for victory and they were racing there thanks to Cook’s brisk 63 not out (56 balls, 12 fours).
They closed on 117/0 and needed just 43 more to seal a winning start to the campaign. Rassie van der Dussen was with his skipper on an unbeaten 43.
But the first half of the day was all about two of the country’s rising talents.
Despite Viljoen picking up his 21st career five-for, it was the man supporting him, Wiaan Mulder, who enjoyed a dream debut.
The South Africa Under-19 captain was the pick of the bowlers in the first innings with his 3/10 and he took a fine 4/54 with his right-arm medium pace second time around. It meant the 18-year-old all-rounder shared all 10 wickets with Viljoen.
Another rookie that enjoyed a stellar outing was Cobras all-rounder Jason Smith.
The 21-year-old, playing in only the second franchise match of his career, fell five runs short of a century when he top scored with 95 (117, 16 fours) in the his side’s second innings.
Smith was also the pick of the bowlers earlier in the day when he took 4/24 as the Lions were bowled out for 154. Temba Bavuma finished unbeaten on 76 (119 balls, 12 fours, 1 six).