A wonderfully aggressive century from Zubayr Hamza pulled the Cobras over the line against the Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg for their first Sunfoil win.
He received solid backing from Stiaan van Zyl, who ended on 66 after the Cobras had been given a target of 227 by bowling out the Dolphins for 291 early on day four. They sailed to that with the loss of just two wickets in 65 overs at almost 3.5 an over.
The Dolphins were on the back foot overnight at 260-8 and, despite the fighting efforts of Robbie Frylinck (unbeaten on 50), their resistance was soon broken by the pace of Dane Paterson and the legbreak spin of Junaid Dawood, who ended with 3-74.
The Dolphins may have entertained hopes of a dramatic reversal when their two spinners, Senuren Muthusamy and Prenelan Subrayen had the Cobras at 78-2, but without another quick breakthrough, they were on the slide. Hamza was in irrepressible form, hammering 19 fours in his score of 109, which earned him the Man of the Match award.
Van Zyl has had a huge impact on the Cobras batting line-up, topping the run averages for the franchise – ignoring Hasham Amla’s one-off 122.5 – with an average of 105 while scoring 420 in just five innings. Until early February, he was amusing himself in the Bangladesh T20 league and kicking his heels, ignored by the Cobras management, until Justin Ontong moved away to a national coaching role.
This success comes from a solid all-round effort: Paterson leading the way – as he should – with 4-58 and 2-66 as the seamers picked up 13 wickets and the spinners seven, all of which complemented by a resolute batting display which at last showed the Cobras’ depth from No’s 3 to 6.
Aviwe Mgijima took the honours in the first innings with his 107, backed by Kyle Verreynne’s 88 and Van Zyl’s 63, which gave the Cobras a first-innings lead of 65.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images