After what seems like an absolute age, we finally head into the last round-robin stage matches of the Momentum One Day Cup this week.
To kick the week’s action off, we head to the Manguang Oval in Bloemfontein for a bit of a dead-rubber between the log leaders, the Cape Cobras and the cellar-dwelling VKB Knights.
To Win Match
To Win Match
The Knights’ faint hopes of a place in the play-offs of the Momentum One Day Cup were dashed when they were comprehensively beaten by the bizhub Highveld Lions on Saturday in Bloemfontein. The Free State franchise were bowled out for a meagre 169 in near-perfect batting conditions with Reeza Hendricks being the only Knights player to register a score above 30.
Having got off to a decent enough start thanks to Hendricks and Rudi Second, a massive collapse saw the hosts lose their last nine wickets for the addition of only 64 runs. The capitulation was made all the more frustrating due to every single one of the Knights’ top seven getting starts but failing to kick on as Eddie Leie, Matt McGillivray and Carmi le Roux did the damage with the ball.
The hosts made up for their inefficiencies with the bat by bowling well to a strong Lions’ top and middle order. Dillon du Preez was effective as his eight overs went for just 11 runs. At the end of the day, however, they simply hadn’t put enough runs on the board as the Lions claimed victory with 10 overs to spare.
With nothing left to play for, I suspect the Knights’ management may well give some of their fringe players a run out in Bloemfontein on Tuesday against the table-topping Cobras as they switch their focus back to the Sunfoil Series.
The Cobras further underlined their status as Momentum One Day Cup favourites as they breezed past the Chevrolet Warriors in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon. Big performances from Dane Vilas and Justin Ontong ensured that the Cape side head into their last regular-season match with a guaranteed home final.
Having lost the toss and been asked to field, the Cobras got off to decent enough start by restricting the scoring in the first ten overs while picking up the valuable wicket of Jon Jon Smuts. Colin Ingram would join Smuts back in the pavilion just two overs later as the Cobras went for the jugular. A magnificent 120-run third-wicket partnership between Ackermann and Yaseen Vallie threatened to take the game away from the visitors before the latter was well caught by Stiaan van Zyl off the bowling of Dane Paterson.
The Cobras’ chase got off to a shaky start as both openers were back in the hut after just six overs. Wickets continued to tumble as the Warriors looked on course to claim a shock victory over the high-flying Capetonians before Dane Vilas joined Justin Ontong at the crease. The two showed all of their experience as they clawed their way back into the game. Vilas was at his brilliant best as he blasted his way to a 70-ball 105 while Ontong was watchful at the other end for his 60. The Cobras would eventually go on claim a five-wicket victory.
The Cobras should field a full-strength side on Tuesday as they look to put the final touches on their preparation for the final. We’re still unsure as to whether or not any of the Cobras’ players will be realised from the national side as the T20 squad to take on England had not been announced at the time of publishing. They could well be able to field JP Duminy if he is surplus to requirements, although that seems unlikely following his inclusion in the World T20 squad.
Verdict: Cape Cobras 9/20
While a Cobras’ win doesn’t really offer you much value at 9/20, you’d be silly to back the Knights in search of a big pay out. Back the Cobras to stroll past what I imagine will be a slightly weakened Knights side, and at 9/20, looks a banker for your mid-week multiple.