Off-spinner Dane Piedt picked up five wickets, including a hat-trick, as the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras beat the Sunfoil Dolphins by 168 runs in their Sunfoil Series match at Boland Park in Paarl on Sunday to go to the top of the log.
The Dolphins were chasing 253 on the final day to win a thrilling match in which batting collapses after big partnerships were the order of the day.
But a wonderful spell of lively swing bowling by Travis Muller had them deep in trouble from the outset.
Muller swung the ball late and both ways to take five for 21 in nine overs, reducing the Dolphins to 60 for seven.
Piedt then wrapped up the tail, finishing the match with a hat-trick and superb figures of five for 16 in 4.4 overs.
Keshav Maharaj was bowled through the gate by a big-turning off-break for eight and then Mthokozisi Shezi and Craig Alexander both picked out fielders with aggressive strokes.
The Cobras are now nearly six points ahead of the second-placed Chevrolet Knights, but they began the day in disappointing fashion as they were bowled out for 280 in their second innings, having lost their last nine wickets for 87 runs.
Fast bowler Kyle Abbott was once again the destroyer, taking seven for 65 to give him 12 for 125 in the match.
Openers Divan van Wyk (18) and Imraan Khan (21), and captain Morne van Wyk (19 not out) were the only batsmen to reach double figures for the Dolphins as Muller and Piedt formed a formidable duo for the Cobras.
The Knights showed greater staying power than the Chevrolet Warriors as they beat them by 10 wickets on the fourth and final day of their match at Chevrolet Park in Bloemfontein.
The Warriors collapsed to 197 all out in their second innings on Sunday, leaving the Knights with a target of just 71 for victory, and openers Reeza Hendricks and Gihahn Cloete each scored 31 not out as they knocked off those runs in a breezy 18.3 overs.
The Warriors resumed on 25 for three and opener David White (89) and Ryan Bailey (39) fought hard as they added 101 for the fifth wicket before fast bowler Quinton Friend had Bailey caught behind.
Off-spinner Werner Coetsee (three for 47) and seamer Malusi Siboto (two for 27) then claimed the remaining five wickets for just 37 runs, killing off the Warriors’ hopes of setting the Knights a stiff target.
The hesitant, flatfooted Unlimited Titans batsmen succumbed meekly on Saturday as the bizhub Highveld Lions beat them by eight wickets in their match at the BidVest Wanderers Stadium.
The Lions batsmen kept their cool far better on a tricky Wanderers pitch, posting 212 in their first innings to claim a 65-run lead, and then bowling the Titans out for a meagre 110 in their second innings on Saturday.
That left the southern Gauteng team with a target of just 46 for victory and they knocked those runs off for the loss of two wickets in just 9.5 overs, captain Stephen Cook scoring 29 not out.
The gentle medium-pace of Brett Pelser was once again the undoing of the Titans as the all-rounder claimed three for 16 in 9.2 overs for superb match figures of seven for 44.