Warriors take down Cobras to reach T20 finals against Lions
A brilliant all-round effort from the Warriors saw them power their way into the 2019 CSA T20 Challenge final with a 15-run win over the Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park on Wednesday night.
The Warriors now head to Johannesburg on Sunday where they will take on the Lions in what is a fair final between the two best teams in this year’s competition.
In the match it was the battle of the openers as Matthew Breetzke's 38-ball 60 for the Warriors was eclipsed by Lions’ David Bedingham's 39-ball 73. Breetzke however still ended up on the winning side thanks to receiving more support from local star Sinethemba Qeshile (35) and captain Jon Jon Smuts (34) as their 172/7 was enough with the Cobras only managing 157/8.
Cobras’ captain Rory Kleinveldt meanwhile impressed with the ball taking 4/33 but Warriors paceman Sisanda Magala's 2/19 in four overs proved pivotal in keeping the scoring rate down, helping his side contain the Cobras in the end.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the home side got off a decent start as 21 came off the first three overs, but opener Gihahn Cloete (4) became Kleinveldt's first scalp after mishitting a pull straight to the safe hands of JP Duminy at midwicket.
This brought Smuts to the crease and along with Breetzke they set the Warriors on their way to a good score.
By the end of the sixth over Smuts had faced most of the strike, clubbing four boundaries as he moved to 24 off 14 balls, with Breetzke watching from the other end on 19 off 13.
Nkululeko Serame, a late inclusion in the team after Vernon Philander pulled out with an injury, then came in for his second over and Breetzke went on the attack clubbing two sixes and a four in an over that went for 18-runs.
Their solid 69-run stand then finally ended at the end of the 10th over as Smuts skied a top edge off Jason Smith to be caught on the boundary by Janneman Malan, to fall for a well played 34 off 22 balls.
The Cobras then had their best spell of the game over the next six overs, bogging down the Warriors, and picking up regular wickets although Breetzke did go to his 50 in that time. while.
Breetzke having hit four maximums and three boundaries and Marco Marais (6) were both caught in Kleinveldt's 13th over going for big shots, while Lesiba Ngoepe (5) and Onke Nyaku (6) were also caught trying to up the scoring rate.
At 130/6 in the 17th over Qeshile started his charge and struck two sixes and two fours in an entertaining knock that helped boost the score.
The Cobras chase got off to a good start, with Bedingham and Janneman Malan taking 31 off the first three overs but after hitting Lutho Sipamla's first ball for a four, Malan (14) was clean bowled to become the first to fall.
JP Duminy then had a torrid time facing five dot balls before trying to hit his sixth ball over the infield, only to sky the ball with Marco Marais taking the catch off Sisanda Magala's bowling as the Cobras slipped to 37/2.
Bedingham then found a willing partner in Kyle Verreynne and they looked to take the game away from the Warriors with a solid partnership.
Having moved safely to 70/2 after nine overs, Bedingham then decided to target Jon Jon Smuts in the 10th over, smashing three fours and a six as 21 came off it, the Cobras batsman cruising to his half century in the process.
Bedingham was now in the mood and after hitting Jade de Klerk for a six in the next over, started the 12th by hitting Birch for a four and a six.
However at 113/2 the innings fell apart spectacularly as the third ball of the over saw Bedingham go for one big shot too many, skying the ball with Sipamla taking the catch to start the slide.
In the next over de Klerk bowled Jason Smith (6), Smuts then bowled a maiden in the 14th over with just a leg bye coming off it and Birch accounted for Aviwe Mgijima (3) in the 15th as they fell to 133/6 by the end of it.
With the run rate continuously climbing Rory Kleinvedlt (10) and Ferisco Adams (14) just could not find the boundaries, and fell during the last two overs as the Cobras finished well short on 157/8...