Richard Levi’s 73 off 55 helped the Cobras set an unbeatable 320-run target to claim a victory over the Warriors on Wednesday.
With both teams losing their opening fixtures, both sides were desperate for a win at Buffalo Park.
The good news out of the Cobras camp was that Vernon Philander got on the field to get some overs under his belt, as he aims to work his way into the Proteas side in time for potential Champions Trophy selection.
The Cape-based side got off to a good start after winning the toss, thanks to Richard Levi and Omphile Ramela putting on 118 for the first wicket. Levi spearheaded his side scoring his 20th 50, but he was dismissed on 73 off 55 balls (11 fours and one six) by Sisanda Magala, two balls into the 20th over.
Ramela (58) pushed on, reaching his 11th half century, but was run out by Magala off the bowling of Colin Ackermann, after a 53-run second-wicket partnership with Stiaan van Zyl.
Van Zyl and Justin Ontong then took their side to 202-2, until Ayabulela Gqamane struck with consecutive balls, dismissing Van Zyl (44) and then Ontong (14) in the last two balls of the 36th over. With two new men at the crease, a good partnership was needed to revive their innings.
Dane Vilas and Jason Smith did so, by running excellently between the wickets, as they pushed the Cobras to 278, bringing up 75 off 54 balls, including only three fours and a six. Magala broke that partnership by clean bowling Smith (29) with the second last ball of the 46th over.
Vilas kept up his brave running between the wickets, but soon came to his demise when the 31-year-old wicketkeeper was run out on 46 by Simon Harmer. Aviwe Mgijima (21) and Philander saw out the remaining three and a half overs as the Cobras posted 319-6.
The Warriors could not match their opposition’s dominance up front, losing their three star batsman with only 53 runs on the board. Jon-Jon Smuts (9) was the first to go off the bowling of Rory Kleinveldt with the first ball of the seventh over. Smith then struck twice in the 10th over to dismiss Colin Ingram (16) and Ackermann (2).
Gihahn Cloete and Yaseen Vallie steadied the ship with 58 for the fourth wicket until Cobras captain Dane Piedt dismissed Cloete (40 off 45) just as the 24-year-old was starting to find his rhythm. Lesiba Ngoepe contributed with 24 to see Vallie pass 50 and for his side to reach 151, but he was trapped lbw by Ontong halfway through the 27th over.
Vallie (93 off 96) continued to fight, despite losing partners at the other end as Harmer nicked one to the keeper for Philander’s only wicket. Andrew Birch gave hope to his side’s chances, putting on 62 with Vallie for the seventh wicket, but he pushed for a second and was run out on 39 off 31 by Ramela.
Smith picked up his third with the last ball of the 41st over when Magala (14 off 11) was caught by Piedt at long-on. Tshepo Moreki struck with the next delivery, trapping Gqamane lbw for a duck as the game started to slip away from the Warriors.
Smith wrapped up the match with a slower delivery, dismissing Basheeru-Deen Walters (12) to end with figures of 4-38, claiming four points and a 57-run victory.
Despite Vallie top scoring with 93 not out, the Man of the Match was awarded to Levi for setting up the Cobras’ victory.