Mthokozisi Shezi’s six-wicket haul for the Cape Cobras against the Titans turned the Sunfoil Series match at Boland Park on its head, as he secured an unexpectedly large first-innings lead for the hosts. The Unlimited Titans looked well in control of the match when they bowled the Cobras out for 308 on day one on a pitch that has favoured the batsmen in recent times, and then advanced to 62/0 on the second morning. But Shezi ripped out both Titans openers in the space of two overs, having both Theunis De Bruyn (28) and Dean Elgar (30) caught behind, then returned for a devastating spell that brought him four wickets for four runs in just three overs.
The Titans were bowled out for 175 as a result, and the Nashua Cape Cobras advanced to 112/3 in their second innings to secure an overall lead of 245 runs. While Shezi did important work at the start and end of the Titans innings, Stiaan Van Zyl also picked up a handy wicket when he dismissed Graeme Van Buuren (29) to snuff out a 50-run stand for the third wicket, while Dane Paterson dismissed Roelof Van Der Merwe (19) and Henry Davids (35) in the same spell to make sure that the Titans couldn’t get going. Paterson’s wickets combined with Shezi’s spell meant that the Titans lost their last seven wickets for just 37 runs, as the left-armer finished with figures of 6/51.
The fact that the match has only seen one half-century in more than two innings shows that there has been something in the pitch for the bowlers throughout. That was proven again when Richard Levi (22) and Van Zyl (27) both made starts in the Cobras second innings, only to nick off to Rowan Richards and David Wiese respectively. Wiese also trapped Andrew Puttick lbw, but Omphile Ramela showed impressive powers of concentration and patience to see off 93 deliveries and go to stumps unbeaten on 16.
His captain, Justin Ontong, played a more fluid knock to reach 30 not out from 46 deliveries.