Having won the toss and elected to bat first, the Lions looked to be on course for a stiff 180-run target on what is usually a batting paradise after wicket-keeper Mangaliso Mosehle’s entertaining 58 off just 40 balls (2x4, 3x6) gave the home side much-needed impetus in the middle of their innings.
The Lions were reduced to 50/3 after eight overs as Rory Kleinveldt (2/24) got rid of Rassie van der Dussen (16) and the on-loan Cobras four-day captain Omphile Ramela (13) to follow up Dane Paterson’s first-ball dismissal of Dominic Hendricks.
Nicky van den Bergh (35 not out), though, smashed 24 runs off Kieron Pollard in the 19th over to propel coach Geoff Toyana’s Lions into the 160 zone before lightning and rain arrived at Senwes Park to delay the match.
By the time the conditions were playable again, the Cobras innings was reduced to six overs, with a 70-run target for victory.
So Paul Adams’ team needed to go at 10.8 runs per over, and they made a good start when Richard Levi hit the first two balls from Hardus Viljoen for four and six.
But Levi was bowled with the fourth ball for 10, and his departure was a big blow to the Cobras’ chances as there wasn’t any time for the incoming batsmen to play their eye in.
Stand-in captain Kieron Pollard – with Justin Ontong again left out of the team – followed up his second-ball four by hitting Nolo Pongolo for three successive boundaries in the second over, and at 30/1, the Cobras were in command.
But they still needed to get 10 per over, and Viljoen managed to concede just seven in the third over to push the rate up to above 12 again.
With Pollard and Wayne Parnell at the crease, the Cobras still had a chance, but then leg-spinner Eddie Leie had the big West Indian caught by Van den Bergh for 26 (12 balls, 5x4).
Parnell kept up the momentum with his first six off Leie, but Lions captain Aaron Phangiso showed his skill in giving away just six runs in the fifth over, which meant that the Cobras required 15 off the last over that was bowled by 18-year-old matric pupil Wiaan Mulder.
The SA Under-19 captain was put under immediate pressure by Parnell, who scored two off the first ball and whacked a six off the second, but Mulder was undeterred. He conceded just three runs off the next three balls to Parnell and George Linde, and finished things off in style by bowling Linde with four needed off the last ball.
The result sees the Cobras staying in fifth spot on the log on four points, ahead of the Lions on net run-rate, with the Cape side having played an extra game.
The Cobras will have to win their next two games against the Dolphins at Newlands on Wednesday (6pm start) and the Cobras at Centurion on Friday (6pm) to remain in the hunt for the playoffs.
Original source: Cobras fall just short in Potch thriller