World Cup hopeful Gihahn Cloete scored a sparkling century in the opening match of the 2018-19 One-Day Cup as the Warriors chased down the Cape Cobras’ imposing score of 276 with one ball in hand.
Cloete received excellent support from fellow opener Matthew Breetzke and young teenage star Sinethemba Qeshile. Breetzke (57 off 71 balls, 7×4) helped Cloete get the innings off to a flying start, adding 110 runs for the first wicket in 23 overs.
Qeshile struck a breezy 54 off 56 balls (4×4) that came at a critical stage of the inning to help carry the defending champions over the line in their pursuit of 277, with the left-handed Cloete scoring a brilliant 111 (127 balls, 11×4). Qeshile saw the run-chase through to the end, losing his wicket in the last over after taking the Warriors to the brink of victory.
The Warriors secured the win with one ball to spare, but only after making heavy weather of a chase that was an exciting start to the 50-over season, coming on the back of last Friday’s thrilling 4-Day Franchise Series finale.
The crowd that turned up for the game were provided plenty of entertainment from both sides as the Cobras did well initially to post 276 for six, thanks to an entertaining career-best 84 from another big prospect for South African cricket, Kyle Verreynne.
The 21-year-old struck one six and five fours in his 76-ball innings to marshal the middle order after contributions of 54 (60 balls, 6×4) from Pieter Malan and 49 by Zubayr Hamza at the top.
There were also starts for Janneman Malan (23), Isaac Dikgale (22) and George Linde (23 not out), with recently-capped Proteas paceman Lutho Sipamla the pick of the bowlers, capturing three for 50.
Cloete’s third career 50-over ton then led the response for the visitors, who shared the title with the Dolphins last year, as they cruised along for the bulk of the chase to reach 207 for two in the 42nd over.
Jason Smith offered the last resistance, grabbing three for 46 to cause some panic in the Warriors’ dugout, but 19-year-old Qeshile kept his cool with a composed innings that took his side to the brink, with Sisanda Magala (nine not out) striking a critical boundary to secure the win.
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