A career-best eight wickets in a marathon effort of 50.4 overs by Dane Piedt ground the Cape Cobras to an epic 37-run victory over the Warriors deep into the final day of their 4-Day Domestic Series clash in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The spinner finished with eight for 130, which included 16 maidens, to bowl out the hosts for 380 in pursuit of a 418-victory target with just 3.2 overs of the game remaining.
Gihahn Cloete’s century (108 off 193 balls, 16 fours) was overshadowed in the process as the Cobras secured a huge win in the context of the season.
This thanks to a massive effort from Piedt and his team-mates, while the Warriors too had to be credited for coming so close to toppling the log-leaders, who now extend their lead even further at the top of the table.
The Eastern Cape franchise had started day four on 93 for none at St George’s Park, needing a further 325 to earn a priceless win.
Eddie Moore was batting alongside Cloete at that stage, but after the pair raised the century stand, the former became Piedt’s first victim after he was bowled.
Another big stand followed between the centurion and Colin Ackermann (43) – the pair adding 89 for the second wicket – before the Cobras’ spinner accounted for both with the score on 192.
Yaseen Vallie (46) and captain Jon-Jon Smuts (44) had to start from scratch again, with the pair doing a good job of things by adding 78 for the fourth wicket as the hosts reached 270 for three.
Again both fell within eight overs of each other leaving the tail with too much to do.
Sinethema Qeshile (34) and Clyde Fortuin (20) did their best to try and pull off the unlikely, with the Warriors even reaching 352 for six at one stage, but Piedt outlasted everyone and help script a fine win.
His figures also surpassed his previous best return of seven for 92 for the Cobras against the Titans back in 2010/11.
The other two wickets on the card were taken by Dane Paterson (2/107), who had learnt earlier in the day of his addition to the Proteas squad for the upcoming Test Series against Pakistan starting next week.
Overall, the result had a massive effect on the table as it allowed the Cobras to move clear at the summit of the table to a total of 126,16 points, over 30 ahead of the bizhub Highveld Lions with four rounds to play.
Titans get first of the season after beating Knights
Chris Morris claimed the key wickets of Rudi Second and Ryan McLaren early on the final day as reigning champions the Titans won a first 4-Day Domestic Series game of the season when they overcame the Knights by 65 runs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Proteas allrounder removed two of the six batsmen to fall on day four to end with figures of three for 55 that helped bowl out the hosts for 249 in 73.2 overs.
Itumeleng Moseki (2/38) also claimed a double and played a key role in the Titans finally breaking their winless sequence in round six of the competition.
The Knights had started the morning hoping to secure the remaining 152 they needed for victory at the Mangaung Oval, but they were only 22 runs into the day before Morris broke their back with the key wicket of Second, trapped leg before wicket for 31.
McLaren continued to soldier on, but he too fell not long after when he was bowled by the South Africa paceman for 32.
Those two wickets, the last of the recognised batsmen, left the home side with a mountain to climb.
It was then just a matter a time, and after Tabraiz Shamsi (2/40), accounted for Aubrey Swanepoel for 28, new man Moseki made light work of Tshepo Ntuli (2) and Duanne Olivier (0) – both taken out in the same over.
Dean Elgar (1/6) got last man Shadley van Schalkwyk (13) to wrap up a vital first win that saw Mark Boucher’s side move up to second on the table.
The Lancastrian was fresh off some standout displays in the 2003 World Cup.
Hales lost his place in last year’s World Cup-winning squad after news of a second failed test for recreational drugs.
The Warwickshire all-rounder is one on 18 bowlers to be selected for personalised practice.
The West Indies are due to arrive on these shores first this summer.
Broad took part in an individual training session at Trent Bridge.
Clare Connor suggested England are considering hosting a Women’s Tri-Series also involving India and South Africa.
The designated bowlers, whose identitites have not been confirmed, will have their temperatures checked.
The ECB had planned to introduce 40 professional contracts this summer across eight regional hubs.
County are waiting on a decision.