Warriors begin title defense with a three-wicket win

Warriors began their Momentum One-Day Cup title defense with a three-wicket win in a penultimate ball thriller at Paarl. Gihahn Cloete hit a century to set up the 277-run chase, while Sinethemba Qeshile’s half-century kept the defending champions in the hunt even as Cape Cobras fought back with four late wickets.

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Opener Gihahn Cloete hit a century to set up the 277-run chase. (File photo) © Getty

Warriors were off to just the perfect start in their chase with Cloete and Matthew Breetzke putting on a 110-run partnership for the first wicket. The latter was run out soon after his fifty, but Cloete carried the chase forward in the company of Qeshile. The opener raises his second century in the tournament history, off 116 balls, but was dismissed by Jason Smith just as the team went past the 200-run mark.

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Smith caused further damage by taking out Warriors’ captain JJ Smuts in the same spell, and Dane Paterson added to it with the wicket of Christiaan Jonker in quick succession. However, debutant Qeshile notched up his half-century in the penultimate over to put Warriors on the brink of victory. With eight required off the final over, Warriors lost their wicketkeeper midway but Sisanda Magala wrapped up the formalities with a ball to spare.

 

Earlier in the day, Cobras opted to bat and, courtesy a strong showing from the middle-order, put on a strong 276/6 from their allotted overs. Pieter Malan was the common denominator in their solid start, putting on a 56-run stand with his opening partner Janneman Malan and then 44 runs for the second-wicket partnership with Zubayr Hamza en route his brisk fifty.

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Hamza missed out on his fifty by just one run but together with wicketkeeper-bat Kyle Verreynne got the innings back on track after Warriors struck twice in quick succession. Verreynne took charge after losing Hamza and hammered a 76-ball 84 before falling off the last ball of the innings.

 

Brief scores: Cape Cobras 276/6 in 50 overs (Kyle Verreynne 84, Pieter Malan 54; Lutho Sipamla 3-50) lost to Warriors 277/7 in 49.5 overs (Gihahn Cloete 111, Matthew Nreetzk 57, Sinethemba Qeshile 54; Jason Smith 3-46) by three wickets.

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