Cobras destroy Titans on day one
An unbroken opening stand of 132 has put the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras in a powerful position at stumps on day one of their Sunfoil Series match against the Nashua Titans at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday.
Live Scoring – Cape Cobras v Titans
Alistair Gray ended on 68 not out while Andrew Puttick, who moved passed 8 000 First Class runs, ended the day on 60 not out, as the Cobras ended the day on 132 without loss, just 60 runs short of the Titans' first innings score of 192 all out.
The Cobras opening batsmen were rarely troubled, as they went about erasing the total that the visitors had set. Gray brought up his 25th career half century off 83 balls, which included ten boundaries.
The pair passed the 100 mark in the 31st over, while Puttick notched up his 35th career half century off a more sedate 101 balls, with eight fours.
The Titans attack toiled without success, with David Wiese (0-36 from seven), Tumi Masekela (0-21 from five) and Shaun von Berg (0-20 from five) the most expensive.
Dane Vilas, the Cobras captain, had earlier won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first, and his decision was vindicated when Johann Louw struck with his first ball of the morning.
Heino Kuhn (1) played a lazy shot outside the offstump, and the ball cannoned off his blade and into his stumps. Next to go was Pieter Malan (8), trapped lbw by Vernon Philander. At 14 for two, the men from up North were staring down a proverbial barrel.
That barrel became bigger when Justin Kemp claimed the first of his five wickets, having Proteas middle-order batsman Jacques Rudolph (9) feathering a ball to Vilas behind the stumps.
Kemp had replaced Philander from the Wynberg End, as Philander left the field with a hamstring strain. And Kemp did not disappoint, as he claimed his second wicket, that of Mangaliso Mosehle (1), who tried to cut a ball too close to him, and only succeeded in lofting the ball to Yaseen Vallie at backward point.
Tumelo Bodibe had tried to hold the innings together with a gritty 20, but when Beuren Hendricks got a ball to move back into the right-handed batsman, Bodibe only managed to find the inside edge of his bat where Vilas took an easy catch.
The Titans were in all sorts of trouble at 47 for five, and the proverbial barrel now looked like a nuclear bomb!
Roelof van der Merwe (61) joined David Wiese (58) at the crease, and the pair delighted the sparse Newlands crowd. At first the pair lived charmed lives, but as their partnership grew, so did their confidence.
The most impressive period of their 117-run sixth wicket partnership came in the first ten overs after lunch, when they accelerated the innings by scoring at six runs per over. Van der Merwe brought up his half century off 61 balls, as both men stroked six boundaries and two sixes in their innings.
Kemp struck twice in the 43rd over to leave the Titans on 164 for seven. He first removed Wiese, trapping him in front, then two balls later he clean bowled Shaun von Berg (0).
Kemp then finished off his five-for by claiming the wicket of Van der Merwe, who chipped the ball to Hedricks at mid-off. Stiaan van Zyl had to finish the over, as Kemp left the field with an injury.
Louw then finished off the tail by claiming the wickets of CJ de Villers (9) and Rowan Richards (8), ending the day with 3-48.
The Titans have their backs to the wall after day one, and will need something special, an ingredient that was missing during the 40 overs they bowled on day one, to turn this match around.
But Gray, Puttick and Co, will be looking to build on the Cobras' first day's performance and build a huge first innings lead, considering that they are without the services of Philander for the remainder of this match.
Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras: Andrew Puttick, Alistair Gray, Stiaan van Zyl, Yaseen Vallie, Qaasim Adams, Dane Vilas (capt, w/k), Justin Kemp, Vernon Philander, Johan Louw, Dane Piedt, Beuran Hendricks.
Nashua Titans: Heino Kuhn (capt, w/k), Tumelo Bodibe, Rowan Richards, David Wiese, Jacques Rudolph, Shaun von Berg, Roelof van der Merwe, CJ de Villiers, Mangaliso Mosehle, Pieter Malan, Tumi Masekela