TELFORD VICE, Newlands
“AG no man,” echoed with increasing frequency and mournfulness under The Oaks at Newlands on Sunday as the Lions made a mismatch of their One-Day Cup final against the Cobras.
Justin Ontong was the only batsman to go above and beyond the 20s – he made 60 – before the Cobras succumbed for 169 in 42 overs to a slow pitch and canny bowlers who all kept their economy rate below five.
The Lions roared with 6.2 overs to spare, when they won by eight wickets on the back of Stephen Cook’s undefeated 77.
For the first time in the franchise era the Lions won this competition outright, having shared it with the Cobras in 2012-13 after both attempts to play the final were washed out.
The Cobras reached the final for the fifth consecutive time. They have claimed the spoils just once in those attempts.
Pumi Matshikwe and Aaron Phangiso took six wickets for the visitors, but the bigger truth was that their attack bowled effectively as a unit.
So when Eddie Leie’s hamstring packed up after he had bowled 5.3 overs, Alviro Petersen sent down the leg spinner’s other 4.3 overs smartly enough to go for only 18 runs.
Consequently only three pairs of the Cobras’ batsmen put on as many as 30 runs together and none made it to 50.
As Cook said, “Every guy stood up when he needed to stand up.”
The game was thus won and lost in the Cobras innings. But the Lions needed sturdy batting if they were to clinch the match with minimal drama against an attack that bristled with Beuran Hendricks, Wayne Parnell and Dane Piedt.
Most of that steadiness was provided by Cook, who shared stands of 67 and 96 with Rassie van der Dussen and Petersen.
Between them Cook, Van der Dussen and Petersen hit 21 fours – 10 more than the entire Cobras line-up. Petersen’s breezy 55 came off 56 balls.
But the most vivid illustration of which team were having the happier day came in the 23rd over of the Lions’ reply when Cook edged an angling delivery from Parnell.
By the time the gently looping ball reached wicketkeeper Dane Vilas, Cook had tucked his bat under his arm and turned towards the dressingroom. Umpire Bongani Jele had his finger up, signalling the obvious.
All it needed for Cook to be dismissed for 51 was for Vilas to take what should have been the simplest of catches …
Instead he dropped it.
Good thing Vilas wasn’t behind the stumps down the road from Newlands at the Vineyard Oval on Saturday, where Dale Steyn bowled a ball in anger for the first time since December 28.
Steyn, who is recovering from a shoulder strain, sent down five overs in each innings for WP Cricket Club in a Premier League match against St Augustine in what amounted to a fitness test for the three T20s SA will play against Australia starting at Kingsmead on Friday.
He took 3/2 and 2/11 – two of them trapped in front, another two bowled, and the other caught at third slip.