CAPE TOWN - “No excuses!” That was Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince’s frank assessment of his team’s woeful batting performance in the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-final. A youthful Cobras batting line-up were bundled out for 181 in pursuit of the Dolphins' 230, resulting in a 49-run defeat.
“I think we were just outplayed on the night. It’s as simple as that. The Dolphins were better when it mattered and they deserve their place in the final. We have no excuses,” said Prince.
“I thought we bowled really well and gave ourselves a real chance in the game. But you need players with character in pressure situations, and while the batting unit was a young one, and they definitely have the skill, we just needed to show more character on the night.”
The unavailability of captain JP Duminy (national team commitments) left a massive void in the Cobras batting line-up in terms of class and experience. The Dolphins exploited this lack of know-how in the middle-order, with 20-year-old wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne walking in to bat in the crucial No 4 position.
While Verreynne, along with opener Zubayr Hamza and Simon Khomari are promising talents, someone like perhaps Stiaan van Zyl was sorely missed at that juncture.
Prince defended his decision to play the extra bowler in Dane Piedt, especially as the pitch offered the spinners great assistance, while the Cobras four-day captain made a valuable half-century to go along with his two wickets.
“I can understand the theory behind the extra batsman (argument). But I believe that each batsman selected for the semi-final has the skill and talent to score runs. Perhaps they don’t have the big numbers behind their names as yet, but in time they will have if they continue to play in big games. I also think Dane, who was selected in JP’s place, did unbelievably well. He came in after two months on the sidelines, took two wickets and scored a half-century...”
With the Cobras’ RamSlam T20 Challenge and One-Day Cup campaigns now both ending at the semi-final stage, there is only the Sunfoil Series left for the Western Cape side to attain any silverware.
The Cobras are currently in fourth place, but are only one victory away from the table-topping Titans. There is any case plenty to be excited about going forward.
Opening batsman Pieter Malan is the leading run-scorer in the One-Day Cup with 615 runs at an average of 61.50, while Simon Khomari also showed good promise with 230 runs at 46. Medium-pacer Mthiwekhaya Nabe was the find of the season with 17 wickets. Dane Paterson also collected 17 wickets, while left-arm spinner GF Linde struck 204 valuable runs and claimed 15 wickets.