Cape Cobras captain Dane Piedt was not impressed by the pitch dished up at Boland Park in Paarl. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Another week of Sunfoil Series cricket and another week of frustration for Cape Cobras captain Dane Piedt.

After last weekend’s thundershowers in Benoni put waste to the Cobras’ chances of victory over the Titans, it was a road of a pitch at Boland Park that had the undoing of the home team this week.

The Highveld Lions had arrived in Paarl devoid of confidence after being the only team to lose two matches in the Sunfoil Series, with rumours of discontent in the camp.

Coach Geoff Toyana’s job was reportedly on the line too, with a Director of Cricket set to be appointed at the Wanderers.

But it is the visitors who will return to Johannesburg filled with confidence after matching the Cobras’ mammoth first innings of 574/8 declared with 562 runs of their own, courtesy of a record-breaking 287-run partnership between Stephen Cook (194) and Rassie van der Dussen (164).

Nicky van den Bergh chipped in with 60 too.

The reply took enough time out of the game for the Cobras to only finish with 117/4 before the players shook hands.

“It is very frustrating when you request a ‘result’ wicket at your home ground, and this is what is served up,” Cobras captain Dane Piedt told Independent Media.

“This was always a game we would have had our eye on maximum points, but in order to do that, we needed to take 20 wickets. That was a tall order on that surface.”

The result means the Cobras’ slip down to fourth position on 90.86 points.

The gap between them and the table-topping Titans (104.5), though remains just 13.64 after the leaders were also held to a draw in Bloemfontein by the Knights (97.38 points).

Piedt believes the race for the title is by no means over, with three rounds still to play.

“There is still a lot of cricket left in the season,” he said.

“I think we can take a lot of positives out of this game. There was a of lot intent while we were batting, and we stuck to our task with the ball. 

“Last season we had a resurgence towards the back-end of the competition, and I am confident we can go on another run like that this year. We just have to find a way. It is that simple.”

The return of Stiaan van Zyl has certainly filled Piedt with confidence that the first victory of the season is not far off.

Van Zyl has struck a half-century and a career-best 228 here in Paarl since returning to franchise cricket a fortnight ago. 

“I am really happy for Stiaan. I fought for him to get back into the team. He is just such a classy player and showed how his time in England has helped him become a better player, especially in terms of scoring-rate as he went at a 70% strike rate throughout his innings.” 

Meanwhile, the Dolphins completed a memorable turnaround in Port Elizabeth.

After a forgettable first day when Grant Morgan’s team were dismissed for 145 in their first innings to surrender a 59-run first innings lead, the Dolphins roared back with 344 in their second innings. 

The 286-run target proved too much for the Warriors with Proteas Test left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj in tremendous form as he finished with 7/76.

The Warriors could only manage 230 all out, handing victory to the Dolphins by 55 runs.


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