Wayne Parnell marked his Cape Cobras debut with a clutch of key wickets as the hosts held off the Titans’ determined batting line-up to clinch a 19-run victory at Newlands on Friday.
After the Cobras had hustled their way to 282 for nine – three runs less than the Titans chased down at the venue in last year’s final – Parnell picked up three wickets as the Titans were kept to 263-9.
Although Parnell proved slightly expensive, conceding 64 runs in his 10 overs, he has an undoubted knack for claiming big scalps and his dismissal of Dean Elgar proved to be the turning point in a game that was heading down to the wire.
Elgar had reached 86 and taken the Titans to within 43 runs of victory – and had the dangerous Albie Morkel for company at the other end – when Parnell picked the perfect length to engineer a top edge that was safely pouched at backward point.
Having already had Henry Davids caught behind earlier in the innings, the left-armer went on to bowl Heinrich Klaasen, which left Morkel needing to score 34 off the final two overs.
Despite being hit for six, Dane Paterson allowed just 11 off the penultimate over, and a series of clinical inswinging yorkers from Vernon Philander in the final over ensured that just three runs were scored with Morkel castled for 38 off the last delivery.
While Parnell’s breakthroughs were crucial, Dane Vilas was deservedly named Momentum man of the match for his 78, which kept the home side ticking along after a collapse.
Richard Levi made his customary swift start, breezing to 53 from 37 balls before miscuing a Junior Dala delivery to mid-on, but with Rowan Richards finding some swing to have Stiaan van Zyl and Omphile Ramela caught behind the wicket, the Cobras found themselves 88-3.
Vilas stabilised the innings in a 126-run stand with Justin Ontong, as the pair took advantage of some good fortune, with Vilas dropped twice and Ontong once.
The Cobras captain reached 48 before Morkel broke the partnership with a lovely delivery that left the batsman late and took the edge through to the keeper, and Vilas fell soon after to Marchant de Lange, who picked up three more late wickets to finish with figures of 4-58.
That prevented the Cobras reaching 300, but the Titans then fell to 80-4 in reply to leave Elgar with lots of work to do – as they had in the final last year.
Elgar once again pulled the visitors back into the match, putting on 121 for the fifth wicket with Qaasim Adams (53), but this time it was not to be as Robin Peterson (2-47) had Adams well caught in the deep by Dane Paterson, and Parnell took care of Elgar.