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Johannesburg – The Cape Cobras beat the Highveld Lions by a commanding seven wickets in a reduced One-day Cup match at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
The Cobras overhauled their target of 245 with an over to spare, on the back of fifties from Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas and a tornado innings from captain Justin Ontong.
The start of the match was delayed due to rain, and when the teams did eventually get on the park, the game was reduced to 37 overs a side.
Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick got the Cobras off to a solid start, reaching 49 before Levi was dismissed by Zander de Bruyn for a quick 37.
Puttick followed soon after for 16, caught behind by Quinton de Kock off De Bruyn once more.
Stiaan van Zyl then combined with Dane Vilas for a partnerhship of 99 to swing the match the Cobras way.
The Lions would have thought they had a sniff after Van Zyl was dismissed for a well played 57, but Ontong ruined any chance of a Lions comeback, scoring a blitz 52 not out off 27 balls with Aaron Phangiso, normally one of the Lions' most economical bowlers, conceding 55 in seven overs.
Vilas finished the match unbeaten on 78 as the defending champions ramped up their efforts for a play off place.
Earlier, the Lions' total was built around a barnstorming finish to their innings from Chris Morris and Temba Bavuma, with their partnership yielding 80 runs in the last six overs to lift the Lions run rate above six runs an over.
The platform was laid by skipper Stephen Cook and opening partner Gulam Bodi as they put on a 92 run opening stand before Bodi was bowled by Ontong for 43 to halt their momentum.
Young sensation Quinton de Kock was next to go, unable to repeat his heroics against the Titans earlier in the week where he scored his maiden century, as Ontong had him caught by Puttick for 10.
Cook was next to go, after scoring another 50 plus score to maintain his lead at the top of the competition run charts, as he was caught and bowled by Alistair Gray for a patient 59.
Neil McKenzie was then dismissed as he was starting to assert his authority at the crease when Lizaad Williams dismissed him for 26.
Jean Symes then made 15 runs before edging behind to Dane Vilas off Charl Langeveldt.
When Symes was dismissed, the Lions were 165/5 after 30.5 overs, before Morris and Bavuma launched their assault.
Morris finished on 49 from 25 balls and Bavuma 35 from 17 balls, with Charl Langeveldt, economical up to that point, and Johan Louw punished in the closing overs. The pick of the Cobras bowlers was Alistair Gray, who was the only Cobras bowler to concede less than six runs an over. – Sapa