Pakistan-bound Janneman Malan and Nandre Burger showed important signs of hot form as they led the Cape Cobras to a vital 76-run win over the Imperial Lions in their Momentum One-Day Cup match in Potchefstroom on Friday.
The victory keeps the Cape Cobras alive in the competition and their match against the Warriors on Saturday will decide who goes through to the semi-finals with the Lions, who were already guaranteed first place on the log and rested some key players.
Malan and debutant Burger have both been included in the Proteas squad for the T20 series in Pakistan that starts on February 11.
Opening batsman Malan blazed 95 off 97 balls to lead the Cobras to a formidable 284 for five, with brother Pieter scoring 53 in a first-wicket stand of 131 with the Protea. A run-a-ball 40 from captain Zubayr Hamza and the talented Jonathan Bird’s 50 not out off 47 balls added the finishing touches to the innings.
Left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, who is also heading for Pakistan, continued his fine tournament as he was the pick of the Lions bowlers with two for 42 in nine overs.
Left-arm quick Burger then had the Lions under pressure from the outset with a feisty new-ball burst in which he also swung the ball, bowling Reeza Hendricks (another T20 squad member but sadly out of form) for just 6 with a beauty.
Burger deserved much better than his final figures of two for 51 in nine overs, and seamer Onke Nyaku then built on the pressure created with some outstanding bowling of his own to take four for 29 in 10 overs as the Lions were bowled out for 208, giving the Cobras a bonus point which puts them level-pegging with the Warriors on the log.
Fortuin lashed 39 off 29 balls and Eldred Hawken scored a run-a-ball 37, but they were ancillary efforts as by then the required run-rate was almost 10 runs-per-over and the Lions were seven down. Nicky van den Bergh was the only other batsman to threaten the Cobras as he scored 35.
Lanky off-spinner Imraan Manack played a good supporting tole to the Cobras seamers as he took two for 31 in 7.4 overs.