The Warriors saw off two determined fightbacks from the Cape Cobras on the final day at St. George’s Park to win an epic Sunfoil Series encounter and register back-to-back victories in the competition. The final score had the Nashua Cobras all out for 305 chasing 322 to lose by 16 runs, but that did not tell the see-saw nature of the battle, which included a 68-run stand for the final wicket between Justin Kemp and Dane Paterson that nearly got the visitors over the line. A dramatic final day saw the Chevrolet Warriors extend their second innings from 254/6 overnight to 317 and then reduce the Cobras to 53/4, only for Dane Vilas and Sybrand Engelbrecht to launch an epic comeback.
The game then swung again when Andrew Birch dismissed both batsmen in consecutive overs and Simon Harmer grabbed three wickets in eight deliveries to leave the visitors 237/9. Kemp and Paterson then embarked on mission seemingly impossible, and got within sight of the win before Jon-Jon Smuts had Paterson caught to decide the match. Birch was at the centre of the action throughout the game, taking three wickets in the first innings and scoring 88 from just 83 balls in the second, prior to taking 4/54 in the final innings.
The all-rounder began the final day unbeaten on 50 and continued to take the attack to the Nashua Cape Cobras bowlers before he was eventually trapped lbw by Kemp. Colin Ingram moved from an overnight 44 to his half-century but was then dismissed for 56 by Paterson, who swept through the tail to finish with 4/79. The Cobras’ target looked stiff, and appeared well out of reach when Birch grabbed two of the four early scalps.
But Vilas decided the best form of defence was attack as he hit 22 from his first 23 balls, and after riding out the initial storm Engelbrecht began to come to the party. The pair saw the Cobras through to the tea break on 179/4, leaving them with 143 required from 37 overs in the final session with six wickets still in hand. However, just as the Cobras looked favourite to complete the chase, Birch had Vilas (84) caught and bowled off the final ball of an over to end the 159-run stand, then bowled Engelbrecht (72) off the first ball of his next one.
When Harmer (3/87) romped through the lower order the game appeared to be up, but Kemp (34 not out) and Paterson (42 from 36 balls) took it right to the edge before the Warriors emerged victorious. The result carried them up to third on the table as they picked up 16.06 points, and left the Cobras almost 26 points adrift at the foot of the ladder.