SUNFOIL SERIES AT the beginning of the year, the Cape Cobras were a massive 23,96 points ahead of the Warriors on the Sunfoil Series log, after six matches. The Titans and Highveld Lions were both propping up the table but had played only four matches due to their participation in the Champions League T20 competition. When the final round of matches began on February 7, the Lions had fought back brilliantly as they trailed the Cape side by only 9,66 points. The Lions travelled to Port Elizabeth to face off against the Warriors while the Cobras travelled to Bloemfontein to face the Knights. The Lions handed the advantage to the Cobras when they were bowled out for just 157 in their first innings. Despite earning a 125-run victory over the Warriors, the Cobras powered their way to a comprehensive 10-wicket win over the Knights and the Sunfoil Series title. Neil McKenzie ended top of the pile with 776 runs at an average of 51,73 with two centuries and four half-centuries while Stiaan van Zyl finished second with 673 runs, averaging 61,18 with two hundreds and three 50s to his name. Kyle Abbott (49), Johann Louw (45) and Andrew Birch (40) were the most successful bowlers on bowler-friendly pitches but the performance of Imran Tahir (37) caught the eye after suffering at the hands of Australia in Adelaide in 2012. T20 Despite missing out on the Sunfoil Series, the Lions continued their good form under Geoffrey Toyana into the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge. The Lions won seven out of 10 matches to top the log and earn the right to host the final at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The Cobras on the other hand faltered badly, finishing bottom with only two wins and eight losses. The Titans travelled to East London to face the Warriors, who ended second, in the play-off match for the right to challenge the Lions for the T20 title. The Titans were led by Alfonso Thomas, who claimed figures of 4-1-24-5, to restrict the Warriors to 127 for nine in 20 overs. But a disciplined bowling performance from the home side pushed the visitors all way as the Titans crossed the line with four wickets intact and with just one ball to spare. Farhaan Behardien smashed an unbeaten 41 off only 26 balls with one four and three maximums to guide his team into the final. In the final, the Lions amassed 155 for five with Quinton de Kock top-scoring with 44 from 31 balls, which included three boundaries and three sixes. The Lions bowled beautifully as they bowled the Titans out for 125 in 18.1 overs which gave them the title by 30 runs. De Kock amassed 524 runs in 11 innings at an average of 52,40 with one century and two 50s. De Kock’s strike-rate of 145,55 was second only to Albie Morkel’s rate of 163,70 for players scoring 200 runs or more. The Lions proved their championship status as the top four wicket takers were all from the Johannesburg-based franchise. Hardus Viljoen (17), Sohail Tanveer (16), Aaron Phangiso (15) and Chris Morris (14) proved that in a format that is designed to suit the batsmen, bowlers can profit too. ONE-DAY CUP The teams then enjoyed their winter break before the new season began with the Momentum One Day Cup in October. In the 2012/13 season, the title was shared by the Lions and the Cobras after both attempts at playing the final were washed out in Johannesburg. This season followed suit as the Cobras, this time hosting the final, spent two days alongside the Titans as a torrential downpour prevented the final from being played, with the teams sharing the title. The Titans were making a habit of reaching finals the hard way. The men from Pretoria reached the final through the play-off as they had done in the previous T20 tournament. The Titans, sitting in fourth position, fell nine points adrift of the Warriors courtesy of a 5-wicket loss to the Sunfoil Dolphins. But a fantastic run-in saw the men in blue defeat the Lions by 38 runs at SuperSport Park in Centurion and then beat the Knights by three wickets in Bloemfontein. In their final match against the Warriors in East London, the Titans needed a bonus-point victory to secure a place in the play-offs. The Warriors were bowled out for 249 in the last over with Ashwell Prince top scoring with 74 and Davy Jacobs making 52. Roelof van der Merwe, who opened the bowling with his offspinners, claimed 3-32 in his 10 overs while another spinner, Shaun von Berg claimed 2-54. The Titans, led by Heino Kuhn (104) and Jean le Clus (73) guided the Titans to their target of 250 with only three wickets down and off only 38.5 overs, giving them the bonus point necessary to advance, at the expense of the Warriors, into the play-offs. The Titans then travelled to Durban where they defeated the Dolphins by five wickets and nine balls remaining to advance to their second final in as many attempts. But the freak torrential storm that lashed the Western Cape over the weekend that was scheduled for the final meant that the Momentum One Day Cup was shared for a second consecutive time. Kuhn (470) and Henry Davids (400) were the only batsmen to cross the 400-run mark while Colin Ingram (395) and Morne van Wyk (394) came close. The 24-year old Viljoen raised his hand yet again to the national selectors as he claimed 19 wickets to end as the top wicket-taker after his exploits in the T20 format earned him the same accolade.