The gust of wind was so strong that an umbrella flew high into the air in the 23rd over, and play was stopped for a minute or two during the One-Day Cup clash in Paarl.
And the Lions capitulated in similarly quick fashion to the Cobras attack, with Geoffrey Toyana’s second-placed team being reduced to 24/4 and later bowled out for just 133 in 40.3 overs to give Paul Adams’ side their second bonus-point victory of the weekend, after they trounced the Titans in Benoni on Friday.
The Cobras have now all but guaranteed themselves top spot on the log and a final at Newlands on February 28, with two league matches still to play. They are on 29 points, 10 ahead of the Lions, and complete their programme against the Warriors (February 13, Port Elizabeth) and Knights (February 16, Bloemfontein).
Left-arm paceman Beuran Hendricks – who won his second consecutive Man-of-the-Match award after his career-best figures of 5/31 against the Titans – did most of the damage on Sunday on what was a slowish Paarl pitch that provided some sideways movement for the quick men, as well as turn and bounce for the spinners.
But while it wasn’t a “road”, the Lions should definitely not have been rolled over for such a low total. Loaded with a powerful batting top-order comprising captain Stephen Cook, Rassie van der Dussen, Alviro Petersen – who has scored five centuries in the competition this season – and Temba Bavuma, the Lions would’ve been aiming for at least 250 after Cobras skipper Justin Ontong won the toss and chose to field first.
But there were a number of soft dismissals, with Van der Dussen (2) presenting a caught-and-bowled opportunity to Hendricks and Petersen following soon after as he went for a drive off the back foot three balls later, only to nick it to Dane Vilas behind off the same bowler.
Coach Toyana would’ve hoped that new Proteas star Bavuma would restore some order, but it was not to be as he received a superb Dane Paterson (2/26) delivery and got a touch to it to be caught by Vilas for a duck.
Cook struggled to get going on the two-paced pitch, scratching around for nine runs off 26 balls before he chopped on from Wayne Parnell to leave the Lions reeling at 24/4 in the 11th over.
There was no stopping the Cobras attack at that stage, with Proteas off-spinner Dane Piedt joining in on the wicket-taking party with 2/20 in a creative and accurate 10-over spell.
Left-hander Dominic Hendricks was the only Lions batsman who put up a fight. He batted for two hours and 40 minutes for an unbeaten 44 off 83 balls (1x4), but he didn’t receive much support as Nicky van den Bergh, Sean Jamison and Pumelela Matshikwe scored 15 each.
It meant that the Cobras didn’t have to deal with much pressure with the bat, and Parnell – who claimed 2/35 with the ball – hit 16 off 15 balls to get the Cobras off to a reasonable start.
Veteran left-hander Andrew Puttick adopted the sheet anchor role with his usual efficiency, and he was the perfect foil for a stroke-player in Stiaan van Zyl at the other end.
Proteas Test discard Van Zyl struck the ball sweetly and played some exquisite cover drives in an entertaining innings of 35 off 63 balls (4x4).
Puttick (63 not out off 86 balls, 4x4) reached his 29th limited-overs half-century, and despite losing Van Zyl and later Ontong (13), he hit the winning runs in the 34th over to clinch a bonus point.
Original source: Cobras a good bet for Newlands final