#Momentum: Cape Cobras extend advantage at the top

There were wins for Cape Cobras and Titans as the Momentum One-Day Cup returned to the schedule in South Africa.

Cobras extended their lead at the top of the table to nine points after a relatively comfortable run chase in Johannesburg against Lions. Openers Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick got things off to fine start, with the latter content to play second fiddle as Levi launched a characteristically ferocious assault on the Lions bowlers. He smashed 80 off 64 balls before being dismissed in the 19th over with the score on 109.

There was a brief mid-innings wobble where the visitors lost four wickets for 30 runs – two of them to Dwaine Pretorius – but Yaseen Vallie and Sybrand Engelbrecht, clearly benefiting from the work that Levi had done earlier in bringing down the required run rate, calmly took their side home in the 49th over. Vallie ended on 39 off 44 balls, with Engelbrecht on 47 off 48.

The Lions innings had earlier been a bit of a stop-start affair despite Gulam Bodi making 54 at the top of the order and all of their top eight batsmen reaching double figures. A pair of run-outs derailed things early on, with Justin Kemp (2-37), Rory Kleinveldt (1-32), and Robin Peterson (2-48) proving effective. Matt McGillivray did manage to impart some late momentum with an unbeaten 38 off 34 balls but it was still only sufficient for Lions to post a middling total of 263 for eight.

Yesterday, Jacques Rudolph had hit a century and Dean Elgar a blistering 98 as Titans beat Knights in a high-scoring game in Kimberley. Titans had won the toss, chosen to bat and got off to a solid start thanks to an opening stand worth 77 between Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids. A further partnership of 90 followed Davids’ departure for 51 off 56 balls as Theunis de Bruyn continued on his good form from the recent series against England Lions by making a 57-ball 46.

Rudolph and new batsman Elgar then pressed the accelerator and combined to take 101 runs off the next 67 balls before Rudolph was run-out for 119 off 135 deliveries. Elgar, though, ensured there was no let up as the final 4.2 overs yielded 62, mostly from his bat. He was caught off the final ball of the innings for 98 off just 45 balls, having hit six maximums as Titans ended their 50 overs on 330 for four.

Knights began brightly in their chase, with Reeza Hendricks and Rudi Second advancing the score to 120 in the 19th over. Both, though, were run-out, with new man Pite van Biljon then dismissed early by Junior Dala to leave them on 135 for four. Obus Pienaar attempted to resurrect the innings with a run-a-ball 63 and appeared to be having success as he added 76 with Michael Erlank.

However, the pressure of the steadily increasing run rate began to tell as wickets began to fall at ever-decreasing intervals. Captain Werner Coetsee was caught for 12, with the dismissals of Pienaar, Shadley van Schalkwyk (23 off 16 balls), Dillon du Preez (21 off 13 balls), and Quinton Friend completing the innings at 309.

Rowan Richards and Dala each ended with a brace of wickets, but Elgar perhaps ended with the most respectable figures from the batsman-dominated game, taking one for 42 with his left-arm spin, to go with his earlier boundary-fest to earn him the man of the match award.

Daniel Grummitt

Cricket Writer at World Cricket Badger
Daniel first began writing about cricket in 2011, having been a fan of the game ever since his Grandad introduced him to it at the age of 10.

He worked for CricketWorld.com for almost three years, leading their county and domestic cricket coverage and contributing to a book about the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, before joining the hugely ambitious World Cricket Badger early in 2014.

The first Test that he remembers watching was on Channel 4 - back before the ECB marginalised potential future fans by selling the TV rights to Sky Sports - when England beat Pakistan by an innings and nine runs at Lord’s.

Besides a passion for domestic cricket, he also has an unexplainable interest in all things Zimbabwe cricket!

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