The Cobras lower order had to hang on grimly against a spin assault by the Warriors to rescue a thrilling draw in Port Elizabeth.
The Sunfoil match turned into a battle of attrition as Dane Piedt and Kyle Verreynne built a dead-bat wall against the left-arm spin of Jon-Jon Smuts and Tabraiz Shamsi.
The Cobras had tried to make a game of it from the start, declaring their first innings closed at 387-d, still 65 behind the Warriors’ first offering. They then applied enough pressure to restrict the Warriors’ second innings to 186-9, at which point they declared, giving the Cobras a target of 252.
Smuts came into the attack a little earlier than planned when Anrich Nortje pulled up injured, and in his second over began the demolition of the Cobras batting, taking four wickets in 34 balls and reducing them to 48-4 in the 20th over.
Shamsi got into the act too, taking two wickets, including top-scorer Zubayr Hamza (41). But more valuable than those runs was the resistance of Piedt and Verreynne. Piedt was forced to retire after taking a blow on the arm on Nortje’s return, having scored seven off 41 balls, but Lizaard Williams proved equally as stubborn. Verreynne ended on 30 off 76 balls when bad light brought an early end with the Cobras on 131-6.
The Titans were forced to defend their position after the Highveld Lions worked their way to within 44 runs of their 452-7 declared in the first innings.
Then the Lions attacked with vigour to restrict the Titans to 69-4, with only Jonathan Vandiar showing any resistance. He eventually went for 61 with the score on 100, and then Farhaan Behardien had to hold the fort while all fell around him. He worked his way to 67 and took the score to 207-7, enabling the Titans to set the Lions a target of 250.
They briefly flirted with the idea of going for it, but they could make no meaningful headway and settled back for the draw, edging their way to 80-2.
The Dolphins will rue the lost day’s play on Thursday, for they were in command against the Knights after bowling them out for 291, 135 behind. That though, in the time available, was enough and they settled for a draw with the Dolphins at 97-2, in which Martin van Jaarsveld could pick up his second fifty of the match.
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