PAARL – Boland Park unveiled its new lights on Friday evening, and the Cape Cobras made it a night to remember.
Despite only defending a below-par 145/7, the Cobras held their nerve when it mattered most with the ball and in the field. The Highveld Lions seemed to be coasting at 131/3, with the visitors requiring just 14 runs off the final 10 balls to get over the line.
But that’s when the Cobras showed they wanted it more on the night.
Having yet to taste victory in the competition after three starts, the home team knew they needed to do something special to keep their RamSlam T20 Challenge campaign alive. And they did just that to sneak home by six runs.
Having dropped big-name Proteas like Wayne Parnell and Dane Paterson, the death-bowling duties was left to Rory Kleinveldt and surprisingly Ferisco Adams.
Kleinveldt showed all his experience by conceding just six runs in the penultimate over, but also picking up the crucial wickets of Proteas Dwaine Pretorius and Mangaliso Mosehle at the same time.
Captain JP Duminy then made the brave call of handing the ball to Adams, despite the rookie conceding 30 runs in his first two overs, for the final six balls, with 13 runs required for victory.
Adams, though, had ice running through his veins as he conceded just one run off the bat and a further five byes to set off raucous celebrations in the Winelands.
“It has been a long time coming. It’s been a good week of prep. It’s been a good week of honest conversations. We knew we had the team to deliver good victories. I think 145 on this wicket was par, but the boys fought outstandingly well,” skipper Duminy said.
“I think it’s just about taking responsibility for your own performances. Not passing the buck, looking yourself in the mirror... where can I improve and where can we improve as team.
“We are by no means the finished article, and there is lot of hard work still to be done, but it’s nice to get a win on your home ground.”
All of this looked highly unlikely when Rassie van der Dussen stroked a 44-ball 51 and the tournament’s leading run-scorer Reeza Hendricks contributed 27 off 23 balls.
However, left-arm spinner George Linde tightened the screws with a spell of 2/26 from his four overs, which allowed Kleinveldt and Adams to close out the game.
It certainly was hard work for the Cobras batsmen, with only skipper Duminy and Proteas teammate Hashim Amla being able to time the ball with any good effect.
Duminy fought a lone battle with 54 off 49 balls (3x4, 1x6), while Amla contributed 42 off 35.
The rest of the home team’s batsmen could simply not cope with the ferocious speed and control of Kagiso Rabada.
The Proteas superstar has cruised through the opening few RamSlam matches for the Lions, but revved up the speed gun at Boland Park
Rabada was particularly good in his opening over against Richard Levi, before winning a personal battle with Proteas teammate Temba Bavuma.
However, it was a night when the Cobras finally came to the party, and now the Western Cape side can look forward to a few more home games to maintain their new-found momentum.