Half-centuries by Stephen Cook and Alviro Petersen helped the Highveld Lions complete a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over the Cape Cobras to clinch the Momentum One-Day Cup title in emphatic fashion at Newlands on Sunday. The two senior visiting batsmen were not the only key contributors for their side with the bowlers also playing a vital role in Cape Town, where the Johannesburg side won with a massive 98 balls to spare. The plaudits will be taken by Cook, who ended unbeaten on 77 (94 balls, nine fours) at the end, and Petersen, after his 55 (56 balls, eight fours), but the real graft was done by the Lions’ bowlers.
After winning the toss and opting to field first, they turned in a splendid display with the ball to topple the hosts for just 169 in 42 overs. Pumelela Matshikwe and Aaron Phangiso claimed three wickets apiece, while there was one each for all the other frontline bowlers. Medium-pacer Matshikwe was particularly impressive with his 3/28 in eight overs, including two maidens. Phangiso bagged 3/33 in nine overs on a memorable day for the Lions.
Only one batsmen made a significant contribution for the Cobras. That was captain Justin Ontong with 60 (77 balls, two fours). But their total looked significantly short at the halfway stage, and so it told. The Lions made light work of the chase and raced to 67 for none in the 15th over, before Rassie van der Dussen (29) fell. But Petersen and Cook, killed off any hopes that may have been raised by that wicket with a 96-run second wicket stand.
Former Proteas opener Petersen took his season aggregate beyond the 700 mark, before he eventually fell with less than 10 to get, and Cook struck the winning runs to hit the 500 mark when they achieved the target in the 34th over. Victory in the one-day competition was the first outright title for the Lions since the 2003/04 season when they did so as Gauteng in the pre-franchise era. They did share the prize with the Cobras in 2012/13.