CAPE TOWN – A little bit before start of play on the opening day of the Sunfoil Series clash at Newlands, Warriors batsman Yaseen Vallie walked over to the curator and gave him a “thumbs up”.
Having played out of Newlands for many years for both Western Province and the Cape Cobras previously, Vallie knows the pitch in his home town well. He obviously liked what he saw and was ready to take advantage.
On day two on Tuesday, Vallie certainly made the most of the conditions as he stroked a glorious 150 (off 211 balls, 23x4, 1x6) to hold the Warriors innings together after Cobras seamer Michael Cohen (5/107) claimed his maiden franchise “five-for” to put the home team in the ascendancy.
However, the Cobras could not capitalise after reducing the Warriors to 217/7 due to Vallie and Aya Gqamane (61 off 58 balls) combining for a 98-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
It certainly was a classy innings from the little right-hander from Cravenby, with Vallie scoring freely all around the wicket.
His innings swung the momentum in favour of the Warriors, with Gqamane gaining further assistance from tail-enders Basheer Walters and Tladi Bokako to push the visitors up to 347 all out.
Lizaad Williams at least had the consolation of picking up the final three wickets to finish with the impressive figures of 4/54 from 23.5 overs.
The Cobras’ reply started off on a shaky note, with opener Simon Khomari edging behind to leave the Cobras at 11/1.
However, Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza took the attack to the Warriors, as the two right-handers were particularly aggressive against off-spinner Simon Harmer.
They shared a 70-run partnership for the second wicket before Harmer – who also plays county cricket for Essex – exacted his revenge when Hamza (34 off 54 balls, 5x4, 1x6) was trapped lbw.
Malan (48 not out) and Justin Ontong (12 not out) continued to be positive despite dark clouds closing in, which brought an early end to proceedings with the Cobras on 97/2.
Brief Scores: Day 2
Warriors 347 all out (Yaseen Vallie 150, Aya Gqamane 61; Michael Cohen 5/107, Lizaad Williams 4/54)
Cape Cobras 97/2 (Pieter Malan 48 not out, Zubayr Hamza 34; Basheer Walters 1/20, Simon Harmer 1/21)