Cobras hold their nerve in Semi
The Nashua Cape Cobras held their nerve well to restrict the Easterns Titans to 158 for seven in their Standard Bank Pro20 semifinal at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.
The Titans were in prime position for a far higher total as openers Faf du Plessi and Gulam Bodi (29) took them to 73 without loss after eight overs.
Du Plessis was in particularly inspired form as he raced to 44 off 34 balls, hitting three balls into the crowd, before he was run out in controversial circumstances.
Racing back for a third run as JP Duminy fielded superbly on the boundary, Du Plessis had to pull out a dive as he slid his bat into the crease. Wicketkeeper Ryan Canning had to stretch to break the stumps but TV umpire Karl Hurter inexplicably ruled the batsman was out. In his younger days, his eyesight was surely better.
Rory Kleinveldt took the new ball with Charl Langeveldt, but was having a hellish time shaking off the effects of a hernia injury. The Titans batsmen failed to really take advantage of that, however, or the several full tosses that were delivered by a Cobras attack that was not at its best.
Duminy also played a key role in the closing overs as he came on to complete Kleinveldt's quota of overs, grabbing four wickets in his three overs, including two in the third, which was an "extra" over for the part-time off-spinner.
Farhaan Behardien did provide a telling late boost, however, with his 32 not out off just 18 balls, after Duminy had removed the frustrated Albie Morkel (12) and AB de Villiers (28), both of whom struggled to score at much more than a run-a-ball.
Langeveldt laid a solid foundation with the ball, his four overs costing 32 runs, even though he did not take a wicket for the first time in this season's Pro20, but apart from Duminy's surprise success, it was seamer Tyron Henderson (4-0-28-0) and slow left-armer Con de Lange (4-0-28-1) who slowed the Titans' momentum in the middle overs.