Sloppy fielding, the alarming number of extras and greater game awareness when assembling major partnerships, are among the areas that the Cape Cobras want to address ahead of the top-of-the-log clash with the Dolphins at Kingsmead in Durban on Friday. The Cape Cobras won their double-headers against the Titans and the Knights in stylish fashion during the weekend. They way in which the Cape champions dismantled the Titans at the business-end of the innings, and ripped through the top- and middle-order of the Knights, should signal an early warning to the Dolphins.
Justin Ontong, the Cape Cobras captain, was impressed with Wayne Parnell’s pace and purpose. He also sang the praises of Robin Peterson, saying the wily veteran was even bowling more brilliantly in the Momentum One Day Cup campaign this season, compared to his splendid performances last season when he captured 18 wickets. His game awareness and strategy in the match against the Titans was evident.
He told Ontong that the match situation at the back-end of the innings when Qaasim Adams and Dean Elgar were in full cry, were similar to a T20-match. And he adjusted his approach and strategy to remove Adams for 53, which proved to be a match-defining moment. The Cobras have conceded 49 extras in the first three matches.
Ontong wants that statistic to improve in the matches against the Dolphins on Friday, and against the Warriors at Newlands on Sunday. The skipper says: ‘The fielding should also improve. I remarked last season that it was something that is a bit of a trend domestically.’ With the departure of the three national players, Dane Vilas, Vernon Philander and Stiaan Van Zyl, the Cape Cobras might look to Andrew Puttick and Rory Kleinveldt to fill two of those spots. Ontong says: ‘The Dolphins boast a lot of left-handed batsmen, and we might have a look at SA Engelbrecht, although he is still nursing a finger injury. Maybe I will also have to bowl some overs as off-spinner.’
Puttick will possibly fulfil the role as opener and wicket-keeper in the next two matches before the completion of the first round of One Day Cup matches. Ontong says the Cape Cobras have discussed the importance of one of two batsmen staying in after a major stand has been broken. The Cobras lost Ontong and Dane Vilas in quick succession in the match against the Titans, and it might have been a contributing factor to their loss of momentum thereafter.