The result means that the Cape side’s final league encounter against the Dolphins in Durban on Friday is a decider for the playoff qualifier, as the winners will definitely make it through, while the losing team could miss out.
Parnell led the Cobras’ run-chase once more in pursuit of 154 for victory off 20 overs at East London’s Buffalo Park on Wednesday in the absence of the injured Richard Levi.
But despite the all-rounder batting through the innings to register 74 not out off 60 balls (7x4, 1x6), he didn’t get any significant support from his teammates at the crease.
The next best score for Paul Adams’s charges was the 20 from veteran Justin Kemp as the Cobras were unable to put any meaningful partnerships together.
The triple spin attack of Jon-Jon Smuts (1/27 in 3.5 overs), Brad Dolley (1/20 in 3 overs) and Colin Ackermann (0/20 in 3 overs) kept it tight in the middle overs to escalate the required run-rate rapidly.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, the Cobras were never up with the rate. Andrew Puttick (5) was gone with just 12 on the board, and captain Justin Ontong (6) followed soon after.
Youngster Keegan Petersen (11) didn’t last long either before Kemp brought a semblance of calm by putting together 46 with Parnell for the fourth wicket.
Warriors swing bowler Andrew Birch was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/28 in his four overs.
Even some late drama which saw Smuts taken out of the attack after bowling two no-balls for height didn’t stop the home side from coasting to victory.
Smuts was also a key figure with the bat as he provided the necessary late impetus to take the Warriors over the 150-run mark. He walked in with the Eastern Cape side in deep trouble at 37/3 in 4.5 overs, and played himself in before launching some big hits towards the end of the innings.
Smuts finished on 61 not out off 40 balls (5x4, 3x6) and got strong support from Ackermann (34 off 29 balls, 2x4, 2x6) and David White (30 off 28 balls, 3x4).
The Cobras did well to restrict the Warriors to 126/6 in 18 overs, with left-arm seamer Mthokozisi Shezi mixing his pace up well for career-best figures of 5/34. But then Smuts’s late heroics saw them get over 150.
The Titans are sure to end on top of the standings and go straight through to the final as they are on 30 points after eight matches, with the Cobras second on 20 in nine games.
The Dolphins are on 18 in nine, and the Warriors 14 in eight, so the Cobras have to beat the Dolphins on Friday to make sure they reach the playoff between the second- and third-placed teams.
Original source: Parnell shines, but Cobras lose