The Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras mounted a valiant effort to chase down 322 to win their Sunfoil Series match against the Chevrolet Warriors at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, but ultimately fell just 16 runs short in a thrilling encounter.
Andrew Birch had produced a tremendous all-round performance to set up victory for the Warriors, lashing 88 off 83 balls to lift the home side from 176 for six to 317 all out, and he then claimed two early wickets to reduce the Cobras to 53 for four.
Dane Vilas (84) and Sybrand Engelbrecht (72) then added 159 for the fifth wicket to get the Cobras back in the game.
But the persistent Birch returned to remove both of them in successive overs and off-spinner Simon Harmer then took three quick wickets to send the Cobras crashing to 237 for nine.
But life quickly became miserable for Harmer as number 11 batsman Dane Paterson belted him for five fours and a six in two overs.
Suddenly the Cobras were making significant progress towards their target, with Paterson and Justin Kemp adding 68 in 12 overs.
Kemp carted Birch for three fours in an over on his way to 34 not out and Paterson launched left-arm spinner Jon-Jon Smuts for six to take the Cobras past 300.
But Paterson tried to cut the next ball and thick-edged a knee-high catch to Ryan Bailey in the gully to be dismissed for a pugnacious 42 off 36 balls.
The Cobras are the defending champions, but they have only flattered to deceive in this season’s Sunfoil Series, propping up the log after losing three of their four games.
*Fast bowler Daryn Dupavillon and spinner Keshav Maharaj took eight wickets between them as they bowled the Sunfoil Dolphins to a crushing 242-run win over the Chevrolet Knights in Kimberley on Sunday.
The Knights, chasing a daunting 369 for victory, began the final day on 11 for three and Dupavillon (15-4-38-5) condemned them to defeat with a three-wicket burst that reduced them to 89 for six.
Maharaj then wrapped up the tail, the Knights being bowled out for just 126, to clinch a second victory for the Dolphins, which keeps them in the title race, 20 points behind the first-placed bizhub Highveld Lions, with a game in hand.
The Lions were unable to extend their lead in the competition as they were held to a draw by the Unlimited Titans at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.
The Titans began the final day on 374 for four in their first innings, still trailing the Lions by 111 runs, and they batted on until 550 for five when they declared.
By that stage, Heino Kuhn boasted a franchise record 244 not out and Qaasim Adams made a maiden Sunfoil Series century.