CAPE TOWN - “The weather messed up our game!” That was Cape Cobras captain Dane Piedt’s frank assessment of his team’s Sunfoil Series clash with the Titans this past weekend in Benoni.
The Cobras made most of the running at Willowmoore Park after posting 428 in their first innings. After dismissing the hosts for 346, the visitors claimed a 82-run lead and were keen on setting the Titans a competitive total to chase down, while leaving them enough time to claim the 10 wickets for victory.
However, after already having the first day curtailed by more than two and half hours due to thundershowers, the Cobras’ second innings was delayed once more and they could eventually only post 185/6 in 50.1 overs, which left the Titans a target of 267. The umpires, though, called time on the hosts’ second innings at 57/2 after 17.5 overs late on Sunday afternoon.
“I thought we were ahead throughout the game,” Piedt told Independent Media. “We controlled the match. We posted on a big first innings, which really allows you to dictate the pace of the game, and we bowled them out with a decent lead.
“They are on the top of the log and we really wanted to push hard for the victory to catch up. But the weather messed up our game. When we wanted to kick on in the first innings, we had to go off. Then again in our second innings. It is hard to get a result when so much time is taken out of the game.”
Although Piedt was frustrated with the eventual outcome, he is pleased with the continued upward progress of his young team. Opening batsman Pieter Malan carried his superb Momentum One-Day Cup form, where he finished as the competition’s run-scorer, into red ball cricket.
Malan spent over seven hours at the crease in the first innings to compile a disciplined 137 (317 balls, 12x4, 1x6) to now top the Sunfoil Series run charts too with 607 runs at an average of 67.44.
“Pieter has been superb across formats all season. He is becoming really dependable. His strike-rate may not look like he is taking the game away from you, but when you have someone glued to the crease at one it does wonders for the team,” Piedt explained.
“It is now up to him to maintain this consistency. At the Cobras we have always prided ourselves on doing it for year in and year out. That is now his challenge because it would be wonderful for the team.”
The skipper also put in a hefty all-round performance. After sitting out most of the white-ball season before being called up for the One-Day Cup semi-final, Piedt has had plenty of time to work on his game at training. It came to fruition this weekend with Piedt claiming match-figures of 5/93, while striking an invaluable 74 in the first innings.
“I felt that I had something to prove,” Piedt stated. “I haven’t played much. Missed out on most of the short stuff, but this is my game. I love bowling long spells and really getting stuck in with the bat.”