CAPE TOWN – Dane Piedt may have taken a career-best 13 wickets to drive the Cape Cobras to a thumping eight-wicket victory over the Titans in the Four-Day Franchise Series on Wednesday, but the skipper has stressed it wasn’t a one-man show in Oudtshoorn.
Piedt bowled a marathon 41.2 overs in the first innings to record figures of 6/75 before following it up with a further 28.1 overs in the second innings that saw him claim 7/66. But while Piedt was toiling away from the one end, he had an able partner in George Linde with the left-arm spinner maintaining the pressure from the other side.
Linde put in a solid 39-over spell in the first innings and delivered a further 30 overs second time round to finish with match-figures of 5/133. This meant 18 of 20 Titans wickets fell to spin.
“Our plan was to get the ball to spin. We knew they only had one specialist in (Shaun) Von Berg and we backed our batting line-up to score runs in those conditions,” Piedt said. “But I have to take my hat off to the way George bowled. He was waiting for an opportunity and the way he put up his hand just makes me smile.”
Linde’s performance certainly exemplified the Cobras’ spirit this season. Since the beginning of the year, the table-toppers have suffered severe disruptions ahead and during games. There has been a Test call-up for the likes of batsman Zubayr Hamza, while seamer Dane Paterson also returned to the ODI arena for the Proteas.
That is without the injuries sustained by opening batsmen Janneman and Pieter Malan, although the latter should at least be fit for the final league encounter against the Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.
“We spoke about it at the beginning of the season that when you do well as a unit, the national team will come knocking for individuals and there will be times when we will lose key players,” Piedt said. “We spoke about how we will need our entire squad and every player, bar possibly Dayyaan Galiem has received an opportunity, and each one has made an impact.
A guy like David Bedingham, for instance, has made invaluable contributions with the bat even though he hasn’t played every game.”
It would, though, be an injustice not to acknowledge Piedt’s phenomenal performances this season. The Cobras skipper leads the four-day competition’s wicket-takers list with 52 scalps and has also registered his maiden first-class century this season.
“I would be lying if I told you that I don’t enjoy leading from the front,” Piedt stated. “Being handed the Cobras captaincy was probably the best thing that could have happened to my career after I was dropped from the Proteas.
“I would do anything for this team. When the game gets to a situation where I need to put in a performance to take the team over the line, and if that means bowling 30 overs unchanged from the one end, I just get down and do it.
My body feels as strong as ever. I still eat a load of cr**, drink the same amount, but it’s all about mental toughness and willing your body over the line.”@ZaahierAdams