There are a few countries in world cricket that would not mind the bevy of bowling riches Cape Cobras coach Paul Adams has at his disposal ahead of the Sunfoil Series clash against the Titans. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
There are a few countries in world cricket that would not mind the bevy of bowling riches Cape Cobras coach Paul Adams has at his disposal ahead of the Sunfoil Series clash against the Titans, starting in Benoni on Thursday.
The impressive Cobras bowling unit have already shown that batting sides are not going to relish the prospect of facing them this season with their demolition job of the Dolphins this past weekend. Led by impressive left-arm paceman Beuran Hendricks, who had match figures of 9/75, the defending champions romped to an innings and 88-run victory in Pietermaritzburg.
It was an impressive start to the Cobras’ title defence, with their Test-quality pacemen doing the job, but their attack has now been boosted even further with the addition of national team spinner Robin Peterson.
Proteas coach Russell Domingo has released Peterson for the remainder of the one-day series against Pakistan, allowing the left-armer to get valuable gametime against the Titans in Benoni this weekend.
Peterson last played in the final ODI against Pakistan and has played little precious little cricket of late since the rejuvenation of leg-spinner Imran Tahir across all formats, with the 34-year-old only being involved in two games – the first Test and final ODI – on the recent six-week-long tour to the United Arab Emirates.
It is debatable whether Peterson will get an extended bowl at Willowmoore Park though, considering how the Titans folded against the pace of Hardus Viljoen and the rest of the Highveld Lions fast men at Centurion last weekend.
Coming off the back of a good run to the 1-Day Cup final, which was washed out against the Cobras earlier this month, Rob Walter’s batsmen failed to adapt their techniques to the demands of first-class cricket, resulting in a heavy 208-run loss.
Their task is unlikely to get any easier this weekend with the likes of Hendricks, Rory Kleinveldt, Johann Louw and Co laying in wait. Titans captain batsman Henry Davids, who was one of the few batsmen on his side to counter-attack against the Lions with a fighting half-century, is well aware of the danger young Hendricks poses.
“He’s improved a lot,” said the former Cobras batsman who first saw the 23-year-old when he was still a raw gun-slinger down in the Cape back in 2010. “When I left the Cobras, Beuran had just started bowling in the nets and he’s a totally different bowler now.
“He had a very good winter playing for South Africa A, taking wickets against India A and Australia A, which obviously gave him a lot of confidence. I think he’s bowling the best of his career so far, so it’s going to be a stiff ask for us.”
The Cobras are a side that are not solely dependent on their ace bowling attack though. As a unit they understand the fundamentals of first-class cricket, and one of the pillars is to bat big in the first innings to put the opposition under pressure.
Top-order batsman Stiaan van Zyl was excellent in this role against the Dolphins, with the classy left-hander exhibiting a good technique complimented by a great deal of patience against what is a talented Dolphins attack too, including the likes of Proteas seamer Kyle Abbott and former England international Graeme Onions.
“It was one of the best innings I have seen Stiaan play,” Adams said of Van Zyl’s 167 not out. “It was not the easiest of pitches, very two-paced, which made Stiaan’s innings even better. In the context of the game, it certainly was the difference between the two sides.”